Skip to main content

Full text of "The call of the wild"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 


bigit i zed by Google 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

' And beyond that fire . . . Buck could see many gleaming 
coals, two by two. always two by two." 

See page T14, 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Illustrated by PHIUP R.. GOODWIN 

Decoratad by CHA.S. EDW: HOOPERj 

Digitized by VoOOQ IC 

K-PI) /<?o^ 


Stt up, doctrotyped, and published July, 1903. Repriotad 
July; August, September, December, 190$ 9 Jmnuny* Maid^ 
September, Hovtmbtr, igD^; Fetewy,Apri|» tgof I Janunry, 

April, November, X906; June, 1907. 

«, S. OMhing & Co. -- Berwick & Siallil 00^ 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


L Into the Primitivb • • 

11. The Law op Club and Fang • 

HI. The Dominant Primordial Beast 

IV. Who has won to Mastership • 

V. The Toil op Trace and Trail 

VI. For the Love op a Man • 

VII. The Sounding op the Call • 

• «J 

• 4» 

. 65 

• 101 

• 121 

• «5» 

• 191 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


«o Ani beyond diat fire • • • Bock could tee maiif 
g^eammg coaSa^ two by two^ fllwqrt two by 
two"* •«•••• Hr$MiiifU€i 


M Over this great dttineuie'* 

«'8trai^ at the man he launched hb one hondred 

and Rjcty poniirta of fivy ' o • • 

iTiiaiilt o o o o • • • 

«<GSacienand«iowdilfii'*. o « • 

Ranjob • e o • « • • 

««WSdwaten defied Aefioit'* • • • 

ۥ WIdi the aofoni boreaBt fiamli^ coldly overiiead 

««Itwatt6tbedeadi** • » • « 

«< It nowad every dqr'* • • • • 

^'^ Running 





Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Htl 900000*9 14^7 

«<J|blmThofiitoii«2idBiKkk>okedateidiodier** • 155 

«« By the liver bulk*'' o o ... 160 

<^< Behind him were the ehadei of all manner of dogs** 169 

^^'AfiillfflOQnroie'* • o « » • • 192 

«« Lying down when die mooie stood idn'* • • 215 

^«In die sommers there Is one visitor o • • to that 

vailey» • • • a great, gloriously ooated wolf*' • 229 


L Digitized by Google 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


Into the Primitive 

«« Old longings nomadic leap. 
Chafing at custom's cham | 
Again from its brumal sleep 
Wakens the ferine strain, ** 

BUCK did not read the newspapers, or 
I he would have known that trouble 
' was brewing, not alone for himself 
but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle 
and with warm, long hdr, from Puget Sound 
to San Diego. Because men, groping in the 
Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and 
because steamship and transportation companies 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



were booming the find, thousands of men were 
rushing into the Northland. These men 
wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were 
heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to 
toil, and furry coats to protect them from the 

Buck lived at a big house in the sun- 
kissed Santa Clara Valley. Judge Miller's 
place, it was called. It stood back from the 
road, half hidden among the trees, through 
which glimpses could be caught of the wide 
cool veranda that ran around its four sides. 
The house was approached by gravelled drive- 
ways which wound about through wide-spread- 
ing lawns and uhder the interlacing boughs 
of tall poplars. At the rear things were on 
even a more spacious scale than at the front. 
There were great stables, where a dozen 
grooms and boys held forth, rows of vine- 
clad servants' cottages, an endless and orderly 
^rray of outhouses, long grape arbors, green 
pastures, orchards, and berry patches. Then 
there was the pumping plant for the artesian 
well, and the big cement tank whisre Judge 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Miller's boys took their morning plunge and 
kept cool in the hot afternoon. 

And over this great demesne Buck ruled. 
Here he was born^ and here he had lived the 
four years of his life. It was true, there were 
other dogs. There could not but be other 
dogs on so vast a place, but they did not 
count. They came and went, resided in the 
populous kennels, or lived obscurely in the 
recesses of the house after the fashion of 
Toots, the Japanese pug, or Ysabel, the 
Mexican hairless, — strange creatures that rarely 
put nose out of doors or set foot to ground. 
On the other hand, there were the fox terriers,* 
a score of them at least, who yelped fearful 
promises at Toots and Ysabel looking out of 
the windows at them and protected by t 
legion of housemaids armed with brooms and 

But Buck was neither house-dog nor kennel* 
dog. The whole realm was his. He plunged 
into the swimming tank or went hunting 
with the Judge's sons; he escorted Mollie 
and Alice, the Judge's daughters, on long twi-* 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


fight or early morning rambles ; on wintry nights 
he lay at the Judge's feet before the roaring 
library fire; he carried the Judge's grand- 
sons on his back, or rolled them in the grass, 
and guarded their footsteps through wild ad- 
ventures down to the fountain in the stable 
yard, and even beyond, where the paddocks 
were, and the berry patches. Among the 
terriers he stalked imperiously, and Toots and 
Ysabel he utterly ignored, for he was king, — 
king over all creeping, crawling, flying things 
of Judge Miller's place, humans included. 

His father, Elmo, a huge St. Bernard, had 
been the Judge's inseparable companion, and 
Buck bid fair to follow in the way of his father. 
He was not so large, — he weighed only one 
hundred and forty pounds, — for his mother, 
Shep, had been a Scotch shepherd dog. Never- 
theless, one hundred and forty pounds, to which 
was added the dignity that comes of good living 
and universal respect, enabled him to carry him- 
self in right royal fashion. During the four 
years since his puppyhood he had lived the life 
of a sated aristocrat; he had a fine pride in him- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


gelf, was cvci' a trifle egoristical, as country 
gentlemen ;$cmetimes become because of their 
insular siituation. But he had saved himself by 
not oecoming a mere pampered house-dog. 
Hunting and kindred outdoor delights had 
kept down the fat and hardened his muscles ; 
and to him, as to the cold-tubbing races, the 
love of water had been a tonic and a health 

And this was the manner of dog Buck was 
in the fell of 1897, when the Klondike strike 
dragged men from all the world into the 
frozen North. But Buck did not read the 
newspapers, and he did not know that Manuel, 
one of the gardener's helpers, was an undesir- 
able acquaintance. Manuel had one besetting 
sin. He loved to play Chinese lottery. Also, 
in his gambling, he had one besetting weak- 
ness — faith in a system; and this made his 
damnation certain. For to play a system re- 
quires money, while the wages of a gardener's 
helper do not lap over the needs of a wife and 
numerous progeny. 

The Judge was at a meeting of the Raisin 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


, Growers' Association, and the boys were busy 
organizing an athletic club» on the memorable 
night of ManueFs treachery. No one saw him 
and Buck go off through the orchard on what 
Buck imagined was merely a stroll. And with 
the exception of a solitary man, no one saw 
them arrive at the little flag station known as 
College Park. This man talked with Manuel, 
and money chinked between them. 

** You might wrap up the goods before you 
deliver 'm/* the stranger said gruffly, and 
Manuel doubled a piece of stout rope around 
Buck's neck under the collar, 

"Twist it, an' you'll choke 'm plentee,'^ 
said Manuel, and the stranger grunted a ready 

Buck had accepted the rope with quiet dig- 
nity. To be sure, it was an unwonted perform- 
ance: but he had learned to trust in men he 
knew, and to give them credit for a wisdom 
that outrcached his own. But when the ends 
of the rope were placed in the stranger's hands, 
he growled menacingly. He had merely tnd*' 
mated his displeasure, in his pride belitving 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


that to intimate was to command. But to hit 
surprise the rope tightened around his neck» 
shutting ofF his breath. In quick rage he 
sprang at the man, who met him halfway, 
grappled him close by the throat, and with a 
deft twist threw him over on his back. Then, 
the rope tightened mercilessly, while Buck; 
struggled in a fury, his tongue lolling out of 
his mouth and his great chest panting futilely. 
Never in all his life had he been so vilely 
treated, and never in all his life had he been 
so angry. But his strength ebbed, his eyes 
glazed, and he knew nothing when the train 
was flagged and the two men threw him into 
the baggage car. 

The next he knew, he was dimly aware that 
his tongue was hurting and that he was being 
jolted along in some kind of a conveyance. 
The hoarse shriek of a locomotive whistling a 
crossing told him where he was. He had 
travelled too often with the Judge not to know 
the sensation of riding in a baggage car. He 
opened his eyes, and into them came the 
unbridled anger of a kidnapped king. The 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


man sprang for his throat, but Buck was too 
quick for hinie His jaws dosed on the hand, 
nor did they relax till his senses were choked 
out of him once more, 

**Yep, has fits/' the man sdd, hiding his 
mangled hand from the baggageman, who had 
been attracted by the sounds of struggle. 
*• I'm takin' 'm up for the boss to 'Frisco. . 
A crack dog-doctor there thinks that he can 
cure 'm." 

Concerning that night's ride, the man spoke 
most eloquently for himself, in a little shed 
back of a saloon on the San Francisco water 

"All I get is fifty for it," he grumbled; 
"an' I wouldn't do it over for t thousand, 
cold cash." 

His hand was wrapped in a bloody hand- 
kerchief, and the right trouser leg was ripped 
from knee to anklco 

" How much did the other mug get?" the 
saloon-keeper demanded. 

"A hundred," was the reply. "Wouldn't 
take a sou less, so help meo" 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


•"That makes a hundred and fifty," the 
idoon-keeper calculated; ^^and he's worth it^ 
or Fm a squarehead.'* 

The kidnapper undid the bloody wrappings 
and looked at his lacerated hand. ^ If I don't 
get the hydrophoby — " 

** It'll be because you was born to hang," 
laughed the saloon-keeper. " Here, lend me a 
hand before you pull your freight," he added. 

Dazed, suffering intolerable pain from 
throat and tongue, with the life half throttled 
out of him. Buck attempted to face his tor- 
mentors. But he was thrown down and 
choked repeatedly, till they succeeded in filing 
the heavy brass collar from off his neck. 
Then the rope was removed, and he was flung 
into a cagelike crate. 

There he lay for the reminder of the weary 
night, nursing his wrath and wounded pride. He 
could not understand what it all meant. What 
did they want with him, these strange men? 
Why were they keeping him pent up in this 
aiarrow crate? He did not know why, but 
he ftJt oppressed by the vague sense of im*' 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


pending calamity. Several times during the 
night he sprang to his feet when the shed door 
rattled open, expecting to see the Judge, or the 
boys at least* But each time it was the bulg<» 
ing face of the saloon-keeper that peered in 
at him by the sickly light of a tallow candle. 
And each time the joyful bark that trembled 
in Buck's throat was twisted into a savage 

But the saloon-keeper let him alone, and in 
the morning four men entered and picked up 
the crate. More tormentors. Buck decided^ 
for they were eWHooldng creatures, ragged 
and unkempt; and he stormed and raged at 
them through the bars. ^They only laughed 
and poked sticks at him, which he promptly 
assailed with his teeth till he realized that that 
was what they wanted. Whereupon he lay 
down sullenly and allowed the crate to be 
lifted into a wagon. Then he, and the crate 
in which he was imprisoned, began a passage 
through many hands. Clerks in the express 
office took charge of him ; he was carted about 
m another wagon ; a truck carried him, with ta 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


sssortment of boxes and parcels, upon a ferry 
steamer; he was trucked off the steamer into 
a great railway depot, and finally he was de- 
posited in an express car. 

For two days and nights this express car 
was dragged along at the tail of shrieking loco- 
motives; and for two days and nights Buck 
neither ate nor drank. In his anger he had 
met the first advances of the express mes- 
sengers with growls, and they had retaliated by 
teasing him. When he fiung himself against 
the bars, quivering and fi*othing, they laughed 
at him and taunted him. They growled and 
barked like detestable dogs, mewed, and 
flapped their arms and crowed. It was all 
very silly, he knew; but therefore the more 
outrage to his dignity, and his anger waxed 
and waxed. He did not mind the hunger so 
much, but the lack of water caused him severe 
suffering and fanned his wrath to fever-pitch. 
For that matter, high-strung and finely sensi- 
tive, the ill treatment had flung him into a 
fever, which was fed by the inflammation of his 
parched and swollen throat and tongue. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


He was glad for one thing : the rope 
off his neck. That had given them an un&ir 
advantage ; but now that it was off, he would 
show them. They would never get another 
rope around his neck. Upon that he was 
resolved. For two days and nights he neither 
ate nor drank, and during those two days and 
nights of torment, he accumulated a fund of 
wrath that boded ill for whoever first fell foul 
of him. His eyes turned blood-shot, and he 
was metamorphosed into a raging fiend. So 
changed was he that the Judge himself would 
not have recognized him; and the express 
messengers breathed with relief when they 
bundled him off the train at Seattle. 

Four men gingerly carried the crate firom 
the wagon into a small, high-walled back yard. 
A stout man, mA a red sweater that sagged 
generously at the neck, came out and signed 
the book for the driver. That was the man. 
Buck divined, the next tormentor, and he 
hurled himself savagely against the bars. The 
man smiled grimly, and brought a hatchet and 
a dub. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


^ Ton ain*t going to take him out now ? * 
the driver asked. 

^ Sure/' the man repfied, driving tl^ hatchet 
into the crate for a pry. 

There was an instantaneous scattering of 
die ibur men who had carried it in, and from 
safe perches on top the wall they prepared to 
watch the performance. 

Buck rushed at the splintering wood, sink- 
ing his teeth into it, surging and wrestling 
with it. Wherever the hatchet fell on the out- 
side, he was there on the inside, snarling and 
growling, as furiously anxious to get out as the 
man in the red sweater was calmly intent on 
getting him out. 

**Now, you red-eyed devil,** he said, when 
he had made an opening sufficient for the pas- 
sage of Buck's body. At the same time he 
dropped the hatchet and shifted the dub to 
his right hand. 

And Buck was truly a red-eyed devil, as he 
drew himself together for the spring, hair bris- 
tling, mouth foaming, a mad glitter in his blood- 
shot eyes. Straight at the man he launched 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


his one hundred and forty pounds of fury, sur- 
charged with the pent passion of two days and 
nights. In mid air, just as his jaws were about 
to close on the man, he received a shock that 
checked his body and brought his teeth together 
with an agonizing clip. He whirled over, fetch- 
ing the ground on his back and side. He had 
never been struck by a club in his life, and did 
not understand. With a snarl that was part 
bark and more scream he was again on his feet 
and launched into the air. And again the 
shock came and he was brought crushingly to 
the^ ground. This time he was aware that it 
was the club, but his madness knew no caution. 
A dozen times he charged, and as often the 
club broke the charge and smashed him down. 
After a particularly fierce blow, he crawled 
to his feet, too dazed to rush. He staggered 
limply about, the blood flowing from nose and 
mouth and ears, his beautiful coat sprayed and 
flecked with bloody slaver. Then the man ad- 
vanced and deliberately dealt him a frightful 
blow on the nose. All the pain he had endured 
was as nothing compared with the exquisite 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


agony of this. With a roar that was almost 
lionlike in its ferocity, he again hurled himself 
at the man. But the man, shifting the club 
from right to left, coolly caught him by the 
under jaw, at the same time wrenching down- 
ward and backward. Buck described a com- 
plete circle in the air, and half of another, then 
crashed to the ground on his head and chest. 

For the last time he rushed. The man 
struck the shrewd blow he had purposely with- 
held for so long, and Buck crumpled up and 
went down, knocked utterly senseless. 

** He's no slouch at dog-breakin*, that's wot 
I say," one of the men on the wall cried 

**^Druther break cayuses any day, and twice 
on Sundays," was the reply of the driver, as he 
climbed on the wagon and started the horses. 

Buck's senses came back to him, but not his 
strength. He lay where he had fallen, and 
from there he watched the man in the red 

" * Answers to the name of Buck,' " the man 
soliloquized, quoting from the saloon-keeper's 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


letter which had announced the consignment 
of the crate and contents^ ** Well, Buck, my 
boy/* he went on in a genial voice, ** we've had 
our little ruction, and the best thing we can do 
is to let it go at that. YouVe learned your 
place, and I know mine. Be a good dog and 
all '11 go well and the goose hang high. Be a 
bad dog, and PU whale the stuffin' outa you. 
Understand ? ** 

As he spoke he fearlessly patted the head he 
had so mercilessly pounded, and though Buck's 
h^r involuntarily bristled at touch of the hand, 
he endured it without protest. When the man 
brought him water he drank eagerly, and later 
bolted a generous meal of raw meat, chunk by 
chunk, from the man's hand. 

He was beaten (he knew that) ; but he was 
not broken. He saw, once for all, that he 
stood no chance against a man with a club. 
He had learned the lesson, and in all his after 
life he never forgot it That club was a reve- 
lation. It was his introduction to the reign of 
primitive law, and he met the introduction hal^ 
way. The facts of life took on a fiercer aspect ; 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and while he &ced that aspect uncowed^ he 
faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature 
aroused. As the days went by, other dogs 
came^ in crates and at the ends of ropes, some 
docilely, and some raging and roaring as he had 
come ; and, one and all, he watched them pass 
under the dominion of the man in the red 
sweater. Again and again, as he looked at each 
brutal performance, the lesson was driven home 
to Buck : a man with a club was a law^ver, & 
master to be obeyed, though not necessarily 
conciliated. Of this last Buck was never guilty, 
though he did see beaten dogs that fawned 
upon the man, and wagged their tails, and 
licked his hand. Also he saw one dog, that 
would neither condliate nor obey, finally killed 
in the struggle for mastery. 

Now and agdn men came, strangers, who 
talked excitedly, wheedlingly, and in all kinds 
of fashions to the man in the red sweater. And 
at such dmes that money passed between them 
the strangers took one or more of the dogs 
away with them. Buck wondered where they 
went, for they never came back; but the fear 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


of the future was strong upon him, and he 
glad each time when he was not selected. 

Yet his time came, in the end, in the form 
of a little weazened man who spat broken 
English and many strange and uncouth excla- 
mations which Buck could not understand. 

"Sacredaml" he cried, when his eyes lit 
upon Buck. ^ Dat one dam bully dog I Eh i 
How moch ? '* 

•* Three hundred, and a present at that,'* 
was the prompt reply of the man in the red 
sweater. " And seein* it*s government money, 
you ain*t got no kick comings eh, Perrault ? *' 

Perrault grinned. Considering that the price 
of dogs had been boomed skyward by the un- 
wonted demand, it was not an unfair sum for 
so fine an animal. The Canadian Government 
would be no loser, nor would its despatches 
travd the slower. Perrault knew dogs, and 
when he looked at Buck he knew that he 
was one in a thousand-— ^^One in ten 
thousand," he commented mentally. 

Buck saw money pass between them, and 
was not surprised when Curly, a good-natured 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Newfoundland, and he were led away by the 
little weazened man. That was the last he saw 
of the man in the red sweater, and as Curly 
and he looked at receding Seattle &om the 
deck of the Narwhal^ it was the last he saw of 
the warm Southland. Curly and he were taken 
below by Perrault and turned over to a black- 
faced giant called Fran9ois. Perrault was a 
French-Canadian, and swarthy; but Fran9ob 
was a French-Canadian half-breed, and twice as 
swarthy. They were a new kind of men to 
Buck (of which he was destined to see many 
more), and while he developed no affection for 
them, he none the less grew honestly to re- 
spect them. He speedily learned that Perrault 
and Fran9ois were fair men, calm and impartial 
in administering justice, and too wise in the way 
of dogs to be fooled by dogs. 

In the 'tween-decks of the Narwhal^ Buck 
and Curly joined two other dogs. One of 
them was a big, snow-white fellow from Spitz« 
bergen who had been brought away by a 
whaling captain, and who had later accom- 
panied a Geological Survey into the BarrtMe 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


He was friendly, in a treacherous sort of way, 
smiling into one's face the while he meditated 
some underhand trick, as, for instance, when 
he stole from Buck's food at the first mealo 
As Buck sprang to punish him, the lash of 
Fran9ois's whip sang through the air, reaching 
the culprit first; and nothing remained to 
Buck but to recover the bone. That was 
fair of Fran9ois, he decided, and the half- 
breed began his rise in Buck's estimation. 

The other dog made no advances, nor re- 
ceived any; also, he did not attempt to steal 
from the newcomerso He was a gloomy, 
morose fellow, and he showed Curly plainly 
that all he desired was to be left alone, and 
fiirther, that there would be trouble if he 
were not left alone. ^* Dave " he was called, 
and he ate and slept, or yawned between 
times, and took interest in nothing, not even 
when the Narwhal crossed Queen Charlotte 
Sound and rolled and pitched and bucked 
like a thing possessed. When Buck and 
Curly grew excited, half wild with fear, he 
nused his head as though annoyed, favored 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


them with an incurious glance^ yawned^ and 
went to sleep again^ 

Day and night the ship throbbed to the 
tireless pulse of the propeller, and though 
one day was very like another, it was appar- 
ent to Buck that the weather was steadily 
growing colder. At last, one morning, the 
propeller was quiet, and the Narwhal was 
pervaded with an atmosphere of excitement 
He felt it, as did the other dogs, and knew 
that a change was at hand. Fran9ois leashed 
them and brought them on decko At' the 
first step upon the cold surface. Buck's feet 
sank into a white mushy something very like 
mud. He sprang back with a snort. More 
of this white stuff was falling through the 
air. He shook himself, but more of it fell 
upon himo He sniffed it curiously, then 
licked some up on his tongue. It bit like 
fire, and the next instant was goneo This 
puzzled him. He tried it again, with the 
same result. The onlookers laughed up- 
roariously, and he felt ashamed, he knew 
not why, for it was his first snow. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

The Law of 
Club and Fang 

BUCK'S first day on the Dyea beach 
was like a nightmare. Every hour 
was filled with shock and surprise. 
He had been suddenly jerked from the heart 
of civilization and flung into the heart of 
things primordial. No lazy, sun-kissed life 
was this, with nothing to do but loaf and be 
bored. Here was neither peace, nor rest, 
nor a moment's safety. All was confusion 
and action, and every moment life and limb 
were in peril. There was imperative need 
to be constantly alert; for these dogs and 
men were not town dogs and men. They 
were savages, all of them, who knew no law 
but the law of club and fang. 


Digitized by CiOOQ IC 


He had never seen dogs fight as these 
wolfish creatures fought, and his first experi- 
ence taught him an unfi3rgetable lesson. It 
is true, it was a vicarious experience, else 
he would not have lived to profit by it. 
Curly was the victim. They were camped 
near the log store, where she, in her friendly 
way, made advances to a husky dog the size 
of a full-grown wolf, though not half so large 
as she. There was no warning, only a leap 
in like a flash, a metallic clip of teeth, a leap 
out equally swift, and Curly's face was ripped 
open from eye to jaw. 

It was the wolf manner of fighting, to 
strike and leap away ; but there was more 
to it than this. Thirty or forty huskies ran 
to the spot and surrounded the combatants 
in an intent and silent circle. Buck did not 
comprehend that silent intentness, nor the 
eager way with which they were licking 
their chops. Curly rushed her antagonist, 
who struck again and leaped aside. He met 
her next rush with his chest, in a peculiar 
fashion that tumbled her oflF her feet. She 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


never regained them. This was what the on- 
looking huskies had waited for. They closed 
in upon her^ snarling and yelping, and she 
was buried, screaming with agony, beneath 
the bristling mass of bodies. 

So sudden was it, and so unexpected, that 
Buck was taken aback. He saw Spitz run 
out his scarlet tongue in a way he had of 
laughing; and he saw Fran9ois, swinging an 
axe, spring into the mess of dogs. Three 
men with clubs were helping him to scatter 
them. It did not take long. Two minutes 
from the time Curly went down, the last of 
her assailants were clubbed off. But she lay 
there limp and lifeless in the bloody, trampled 
snow, almost literally torn to pieces, the swart 
half-breed standing over her and cursing hor- 
ribly. The scene often came back to Buck to 
trouble him in his sleep. So that was the way. 
No fair play. Once down, that was the end 
of you. Well, he would see to it that he never 
went down. Spitz ran out his tongue and 
laughed again, and from that moment Bucjc 
hated him with a bitter and deathless hatred. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Before he had recovered from the shock 
caused by the tragic passing of Curly, he 
received another shock. Fran9ois fastened 
upon him an arrangement of straps and 
buckles. It was a harness, sach as he had 
seen the grooms put on the horses at home. 
And as he had seen horses work, so he was 
set to work, hauling Fran9ois on a sled to 
the forest that fringed the valley, and return- 
ing with a load of firewood. Though his 
dignity was sorely hurt by thus. being made 
a draught animal, he was too wise to rebel. 
He buckled down with a will and did his 
best, though it was all new and strange. 
Francois was stem, demanding instant obe* 
dience, and by virtue of his whip receiving 
instant obediehce; while Dave, who was an 
experienced wheeler, nipped Buck's hind quar- 
ters whenever he was in error. Spitz was 
the leader, likewise experienced, and while 
he could not always get at Buck, he growled 
sharp reproof now and again, or cunningly 
threw his weight in the traces to jerk Buck 
into the way he should go. Buck learned 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


easily, and under the combined tuition of hit 
two mates and Franfois made remarkable 
progress. Ere they returned to camp he 
knew enough to stop at "ho/* to go ahead 
at " mush," to swing wide on the bends, 
and to keep clear of the wheeler when the 
loaded sled shot downhill at their heels. 

"T'ree vair* good dogs," Fran9ois told 
Perrault. "Dat Buck, heem pool lak hell. 
I tich heem queek as anything/' 

By afternoon, Perrault, who was in a hurry 
to be on the trail with his despatches, returned 
with two more dogs. " Billee *' and " Joe " 
he called them, two brothers, and true huskies 
both. Sons of the one mother though they 
were, they were as different as day and night. 
Billee's one fault was his excessive good 
nature, while Joe was the very opposite, 
sour and introspective, with a perpetual snarl 
and a malignant eye. Buck received them 
in comradely fashion, Dave ignored them, 
while Spitz proceeded to thrash first one and 
then the other. Billee wagged his tail appeas- 
ingly, turned to run when he saw that ap* 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


peasement was of no avail, and cried (sdll 
appeasingly) when Spitz's sharp teeth scored 
his flank. But no matter how Spitz drcled, 
Joe whirled atound on his heels to face him, 
mane bristling, ears Idd back, lips writhing 
and snarling, jaws clipping together as ^t as 
he could snap, and eyes diabolically gleaming 
— the incarnation of belligerent fear. So 
terrible was his appearance that Spitz was 
forced to forego disciplining him; but to 
cover his own discomfiture he turned upon 
the inoffensive and wailing Billee and drove 
him to the confines of the camp. 

By evening Perrault secured another dog, 
an old husky, long and lean and gaunt, with 
a battle-scarred face and a single eye which 
flashed a warning of prowess that commanded 
respect. He was called Sol-leks, which means 
the Angry One. Like Dave, he asked 
nothing, gave nothing, expected nothing; and 
when he marched slowly and deliberately into 
their midst, even Spitz left him alone. He 
had one peculiarity which Buck was unlucky 
enough to discover. He did not like to be 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


approached on his blind side. Of this o^ence 
Buck was unwittingly guilty, and the first 
knowledge he had of his indiscretion was 
when Sol-leks whirled upon him and slashed 
his shoulder to the bone for three inches up 
and down. Forever after Buck avoided his 
blind side, and to the last of their comradeship 
had no more trouble. His only apparent 
ambition, like Dave's, was to be left alone; 
though, as Buck was afterward to learn, each 
of them possessed one other and^even more 
vital ambition. 

That night Buck faced the great problem of 
sleeping. The tent, illumined by a candle, 
glowed warmly in the midst of the white 
plain; and when he, as a matter of course, 
entered it, both Perrault and Fran9ois bom- 
barded him with curses and cooking utensils, 
till he recovered from his consternation and 
fled ignominiously into the outer cold. A 
chill wind was blowing that nipped him sharply 
and bit with especial venom into his wounded 
shoulder. He lay down on the snow and 
attempted to sleep, but the frost soon drove 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


hiin shivering to his feet. Miserable and 
disconsolate) he wandered about among the 
many tents^ only to find that one place was 
as cold as another. Here and there savage 
dogs rushed upon him, but he bristled his 
neck--hair and snaried (for he was learning 
&st), and they let him go his way unmolested. 
Finally >n idea came to him. He would 
return and see how his own team-mates were 
making out. To his astonishment, they had 
disappeared. Again he wandered about through 
the great camp, looking for them, and again he 
returned. Were they in the tent ? No, that 
could not be, else he would not have been 
driven out. Then where could they possibly 
bef With drooping tail and shivering body, 
very forlorn indeed, he aimlessly circled the 
tent. Suddenly the snow gave way beneath 
his fore legs and he sank down. Something 
wriggled under his feet He sprang back, 
bristling and snarling, fearful of the unseen 
and unknown. But a friendly little yelp 
reassured him, and he went back to investi* 
gate. A whifF of warm air ascended to his 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


nostrils, and there, curied up under the snow 
in a snug ball, lay Billee. He whined plaeat- 
ingly, squirmed and wriggled to show his good 
will and intentions, and even ventured, as a 
bribe for peace, to lick Buck's face with his 
warm wet tongue. 

Another lesson. So that was the way they 
did it, eh ? Buck confidently selected a spot, 
and with much fuss and waste effort proceeded 
to dig a hole for himself. In a trice the heat 
from his body filled the confined space and 
he was asleep. The day had been long and 
arduous, and he slept soundly and comfort- 
ably, though he growled and barked and 
wrestled with bad dreams. 

Nor did he open his eyes till roused by the 
noises of the waking camp. At first he did 
not know where he was. It had snowed dur- 
ing the night and he was completely buried. 
The snow walls pressed him on every side, 
and a great surge of fear swept through him — 
the fear of the wild thing for the trap. It was 
a token that he was harking back through his 
own life to the lives of his forebears ; for he 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


was a civilized dog, an unduly civilized dog, 
and of his own experience knew no trap and 
so could not of himself fear it. The muscles 
of his whole body contracted spasmodically 
and instinctively, the hair on his neck and 
shoulders stood on end, and with a ferocious 
snarl hd bounded straight up into the blinding 
day, the snow flying about him in a flashing 
cloud. Ere he landed on his feet, he saw the 
white camp spread out before him and knew 
where he was and remembered all that had 
passed from the time he went for a stroll with 
Manuel to the hole he had dug for himself 
the night before. 

A shout fi-om Franfois hailed his appear- 
ance. **Wot I say?" the dog-driver cried 
to Perrault. ** Dat Buck for sure learn queek 
as anything.** 

Perrault nodded gravely. As courier for 
the Canadian Government, bearing important 
despatches, he was anxious to secure the best 
dogs, and he was particularly gladdened by the 
possession of Buck. 

Three more huskies were added to the 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


team inside an hour, making a total of ninci 
and before another quarter of an hour had 
passed they were in harness and swinging up 
the trail toward the Dyea CafLon. Buck was 
glad to be gone, and though tne work was 
hard he found he did not particularly despise 
it. He was surprised at the eagerness which 
animated the whole team and which was com- 
municated to him; but still more surprising 
was the change wrought in Dave and Sol-leks. 
They were new dogs* utterly transformed by 
the harness. All passiveness and unconcern 
had dropped from them. They were alert and 
active, anxious that the work should go well, 
and fiercely irritable with whatever, by delay 
or confusion, retarded that work. The toil 
of the traces seemed the supreme expression 
of their being, and all that they lived for and 
the only thing in which they took delight. 

Dave was wheeler or sled dog, pulling in 
front of him was Buck, then came Sol-leks ; 
the rest of the team was strung out ahead, 
single file, to the leader, which posidon was 
filled by Spitz. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Buck had been purposely placed between 
Dave and Sol-leks so that he might receive 
instruction. Apt scholar that he was^ they 
were equally apt teachers, never allowing him 
to linger long in error, and enforcfng their 
teaching with their sharp teeth, Dave was fair 
and very wise. He never nipped Buck with- 
out cause, and he never failed to nip him 
when he stood in need of it. As Fran9ois's 
whip backed him up. Buck found it to be 
cheaper to mend his ways than to retaliate. 
Once, during a brief halt, when he got tangled 
in the traces and delayed the start, both Dave 
and Sol-leks flew at him and administered a 
sound trouncing. The resulting tangle was 
even worse, but Buck took good care to keep 
the traces clear thereafter ; and ere the day was 
done, so well had he mastered his work, his 
mates about ceased nagging him. Francois's 
whip snapped less frequently, and Perrault 
even honored .Buck by lifting up his feet and 
carefully examining them. 

It was a hard day's run, up the CafLon, 
through Sheep Camp, past the Scales and 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


the timber line, across glaciers and snowdrifts 
hundreds of feet deep, and over the great 
Chilcoot Divide, which stands between the salt 
water and the fresh and guards forbiddingly 
the sad and lonely North. They made go6d 
time down the chain of lakes which fills the 
craters of extinct volcanoes, and late that 
night pulled into the huge camp at the head 
of Lake Bennett, where thousands of gold- 
seekers were building boats against the 
break-up of the ice in the spring. Buck 
made his hole in the snow and slept the sleep 
of the exhausted just, but all too early was 
routed out in the cold darkness and harnessed 
with his mates to the sled. 

That day they made forty miles, the trail 
being packed ; but the next day, and for many 
days to follow, they broke their own trail, 
worked harder, and made poorer time. As a 
rule, Perrault travelled ahead of the teim, pack- 
ing the snow with webbed shoes to make it 
easier for them. Fran90is, guiding the sled at 
the gee-pole, sometimes exchanged places with 
him, but not oftem Perrault was in a hurry. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and he prided himself on his knowledge of ice, 
which knowledge was indispensable^ for the fall 
ice was very thin, and where there was swift 
water, there was no ice at all. 

Day after day, for days unending. Buck 
toiled in the traces. Always, they broke camp 
in the dark, and the first gray of dawn found 
them hitting the trail with fresh miles reeled 
off behind them. And always they pitched 
camp after dark, eating their bit of fish, and 
crawling to sleep into the snow. Buck was 
ravenous. The pound and a half of sun- 
dried salmon, which was his ration for each 
day, seemed to go nowhere. He never had 
enough, and suffered from perpetual hunger 
pangs. Yet the other dogs, because they 
weighed less and were born to the life, re- 
ceived a pound only of the fish and managed 
to keep in good condition. 

He swiftly lost the fastidiousness which had 
characterized his old life. A dainty eater, he 
found that his mates, finishing first, robbed 
him of his unfinished ration. There was no 
defending it. While he was fighting off two 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


or three, it was disappearing down the throats 
of the others. To remedy this, he ate as 
fast as they ; and, so greatly did hunger com- 
pel him, he was not above taking what did not 
belong to him. He watched and learned. 
When he saw Pike, one of the new dogs, a 
clever malingerer and thief, slyly steal a slice 
of bacon when Perrault's back was turned, he 
duplicated the performance the following day, 
getting away with the whole chunk. A great 
uproar was raised, but he was unsuspected; 
while Dub, an awkward blunderer who was 
always getting caught, was punished for 
Buck's misdeed. 

This first theft marked Buck as fit to sur- 
vive in the hostile Northland environment. 
It marked his adaptability, his capacity to ad- 
just himself to changing conditions, the lack 
of which would have meant swift and terrible 
death. It marked, further, the decay or going 
to pieces of his moral nature, a vain thing and 
a handicap in the ruthless struggle for existence. 
It was all well enough in the Southland, under 
the law of love and fellowship, to respect pri- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


vate property and personal feelings ; but in the 
Northland, under the law of club and fang, 
whoso took such things into account was a fool, 
and In so far as he observed them he would 
fail to prosper. 

Not that Buck reasoned it out He was 
fit, that was all, and unconsciously he accommo- 
dated himself to the new mode of life. All 
his days, no matter what the odds, he had 
never run from a fight. But the club of the 
man in the red sweater had beaten into 
him a more fundamental and primitive code. 
Civilized, he could have died for a moral 
consideration, say the defence of Judge 
Miller's riding-whip; but the completeness 
of his decivilizadon was now evidenced by 
his ability to flee from the defence of a moral 
consideration and so save his hide. He did 
not steal for joy of it, but because of the 
clamor of his stomach. He did not rob 
openly, but stx)le secretly and cunningly, out 
of respect for club and fang. In short, the 
things he did were done because it was easier 
to do them than not to do them. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


His development (or retrogression) was 
rapid. His muscles became hard as iron, 
and he grew callous to all ordinary pain. 
He achieved an internal as well as external 
economy. He could eat anything, no matter 
how loathsome or indigestible; and, once 
eaten, the juices of his stomach extracted the 
last least particle of nutriment ; and his blood 
carried it to the farthest reaches of his body, 
building it into the toughest and stoutest of 
tissues. Sight and scent became remarkably 
keen, while his hearing developed such acute- 
ness that in his sleep he heard the faintest 
sound and knew whether it heralded peace or 
peril. He learned to bite the ice out with his 
teeth when it collected between his toes ; and 
when he was thirsty and there was a thick 
scum of ice over the water hole, he would 
break it by rearing and striking it with stiff 
fore legs. His most conspicuous trait was 
an ability to scent the wind and forecast it a 
night in advance. No matter how breathless 
the air when he dug his nest by tree or bank, 
the wind that later blew inevitably found him 
to leeward, sheltered and snug. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


And not only did he learn by experience, but 
instincts long dead became alive again. The 
domesticated generations fell from him. In 
vague ways he remembered back to the youth 
of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged 
in packs through the primeval forest and killed 
their meat as they ran it down. It was no 
task for him to learn to fight with cut and 
slash and the quick wolf snap. In this man- 
ner had fought forgotten ancestors. They 
quickened the old life within him, and the old 
tricks which they had stamped into the hered- 
ity of the breed were his tricks. They came 
to him without effort or discovery, as though 
they had been his always. And when, on the 
still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star 
and howled long and wolflike, it was his an- 
cestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star 
and howling down through the centuries and 
through him. And his cadences were their 
cadences, the cadences which voiced their woe 
and what to them was the meaning of the still- 
ness, and the cold, and dark. 

Thus, as token of what a puppet thing life 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


is, the ancient song suited through him and 
he came into his own again ; and he came 
because men had found a yellow metal in the 
North, and because Manuel was a gardener's 
helper whose wages did not lap over the 
needs of his wife and divers small copies of 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


The Dominant Primordial Beast 

THE dominant primordial beast was 
strong in Buck, and under the fierce 
conditions of trail life it grew and 
grew. Yet it was a secret growth. His new- 
born cunning gave him poise and control. 
He was too busy adjusting himself to the new 
life to feel at ease, and not only did he not 
pick fights, but he avoided them whenever 
possible. A certain deliberateness characterized 
his attitude. He was not prone to rashness 
and precipitate action ; and in the bitter hatred 
between him and Spitz he betrayed no impa- 
tience, shunned all ofiFensive acts. 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


On the other hand, possibly because he 
divined in Buck a dangerous rival. Spitz never 
lost an opportunity of showing his teeth. He 
even went out of his way to bully Buck, striv- 
ing constantly to start the fight which could 
end only in the death of one or the other. 
Early in the trip this might have taken place 
had it not been for an unwonted accident. At 
the end of this day they made a bleak and 
miserable camp on the shore of Lake Le 
Barge. Driving snow, a wind that cut like a 
white-hot knife, and darkness had forced them 
to grope for a camping place. They could 
hardly have fared worse. At their backs rose 
a perpendicular wall of rock, and Perrault and 
Fran9ois were compelled to make their fire 
and spread their sleeping robes on the ice of 
the lake itself The tent they had discarded 
at Dyea in order to travel light. A few sticks 
of driftwood furnished them with a fire that 
thawed down through the ice and left them to 
eat supper in the dark. 

Close in under the sheltering rock Buck 
made his nest. So snug and warm was it, that 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


he was loath to leave it when Fran9ois dis- 
tributed the fish which he had first thawed over 
the fire. But when Buck finished his ration 
and returned, he found his nest occupied. A 
warning snarl told him that the trespasser was 
Spitz. Till now Buck had avoided trouble with 
his enemy, but this was too much. The beast 
in him roared. He sprang upon Spitz with 
a fiiry which surprised them both, and Spitz 
particularly, for his whole experience with Buck 
had gone to teach him that his rival was an 
unusually timid dog, who managed to hold his 
own only because of his great weight and sizec 

Fran9ois was surprised, too, when they shot 
out in a tangle from the disrupted nest and he 
divined the cause of the trouble. ^ A-a-ah ! ** 
he cried to Buck. " Gif it to heem, by Gar ! 
Gif it to heem, the dirty t'eef I " 

Spitz was equally willing. He was crying 
with sheer rage and eagerness as he circled 
back and forth for a chance to spring in. 
Buck was no less eager, and no less cautious, 
as he likewise circled back and forth for the 
advantage. But it was then that the unex- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


pected happened^ the thing which projected 
their struggle for supremacy far into the future, 
past many a weary mile of trail and toil. 

An oath from Perrault, the resounding im* 
pact of a club upon a bony frame, and a shrill 
yelp of pain, heralded the breaking forth of 
pandemonium. The camp was suddenly dis- 
covered to be alive with skulking frirry forms, 
—starving huskies, four or five score of them, 
who had scented the camp from some Indian 
village. They had crept in while Buck and 
Spitz were fighting, and when the two men 
sprang among them with stout clubs they 
showed their teeth and fought back. They 
were crazed by the smell of the food. Per- 
rault found one with head buried in the grub- 
box. His club landed heavily on the gaunt 
ribs, and the grub-box was capsized on the 
ground. On the instant a score of the famished 
brutes were scrambling for the bread and bacon. 
The clubs fell upon them unheeded. They 
yelped and howled under the rain of blows, 
but struggled none the less madly till the last 
crumb had been devoured. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


In the meantime the astonished team-dogs 
had burst out of their nests only to be set 
upon by the fierce invaders. Never had Buck 
seen such dogs. It seemed as though their 
bones would burst through their skins. They 
were mere skeletons, draped loosely in drag- 
gled hides, with blazing eyes and slavered 
fangs. But the hunger-madness made them 
terrifying, irresistible. There was no opposing 
them. The team-dogs were swept back against 
the cliff at the first onset. Buck was beset 
by three huskies, and in a trice his head and 
shoulders were ripped and slashed. The din 
was fiightfuL Billee was crying as usual. 
Dave and Sol-leks, dripping blood from a 
score of wounds, were fighting bravely side 
by side. Joe was snapping like a demon. 
Once, his teeth closed on the fore leg of a 
husky, and he crunched down through the 
bone. Pike, the malingerer, leaped upon the 
crippled animal, breaking its neck mth a quick 
flash of teeth and a jerk. Buck got a frothing 
adversary by the throat, and was sprayed with 
blood when his teeth sank through the jugular. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


The warm taste of it in his mouth goaded him 
to greater fierceness. He flung himself upon 
another, and at the same time felt teeth sink 
into his own throat. It was Spitz, treacher- 
ously attacking from the side. 

Perrault and Fran9oisy having cleaned out 
their part of the camp, hurried to save their 
sled-dogs. The wild wave of famished beasts 
rolled back before them, and Buck shook 
himself &ee. But it was only for a moment 
The two men were compelled to run back to 
save the grub, upon which the huskies re- 
turned to the attack on the team. Billee, 
terrified into bravery, sprang through the 
savage circle and fled away over the ice*. 
Pike and Dub followed on his heels, with 
the rest of the team behind. As Buck drew 
himself together to spring after them, out of 
the tail of his eye he saw Spitz rush upon him 
with the evident intention of overthrowing 
him. Once ofiT his feet and under that mass 
of huskies, there was no hope for him. But 
he braced himself to the shock of Spitz's 
charge, then joined the flight out on the lake. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Later, the nine team-dogs gathered together 
and sought shelter in the forest. Though 
unpursued, they were in a sorry plight. There 
was not one who was not wounded in four or 
five places, while some were wounded griev- 
ously. Dub was badly injured in a hind leg ; 
Dolly, the last husky added to the team at 
Dyea, had a badly torn throat; Joe had lost 
an eye; while Billee, the good-natured, with 
an ear chewed and rent to ribbons, cried and 
whimpered throughout the night. At day- 
break they limped warily back to camp, to 
find the marauders gone and the two men in 
bad tempers. Fully half their grub supply 
was gone. The huskies had chewed through 
the sled lashings and canvas coverings. In 
fact, nothing, no matter how remotely eatable, 
had escaped them. They had eaten a pair of 
Perrault*s moose-hide moccasins, chunks out 
of the leather traces, and even two feet of lash 
from the end of Fran9ois*s whip. He broke 
from a mournful contemplation of it to look 
over his wounded dogs. 

**Ah, my frien*s," he said softly, "mebbe 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


it mek you mad dog, dose many bites. Mebbe 
dl mad dog, sacredam ! Wot you t'ink, eh| 

The courier shook his head dubiously. With 
four hundred miles of trail still between him 
and Dawson, he could ill afford to have 
madness break out among his dogs. Two 
hours of cursing and exerdon got the harnesses 
into shape, and the wound-sdfFened team was 
under way, struggling painfully over the hardest 
part of the trail they had yet encountered, and 
for that matter, the hardest between them and 

The Thirty Mile River was wide open. Its 
wild water defied the frost, and it was in the 
eddies only and in the quiet places that the 
ice held at all. Six days of exhausting toil 
were required to cover those thirty terrible 
miles. And terrible they were, for every foot 
of them was accomplished at the risk of life 
to dog and man. A dozen times, Perrault, 
nosing the way, broke through the ice bridges, 
being saved by the long pole he carried, which 
he so held that it fell each time across the 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


hole made by his body. But a cold snap was 
on, the thermometer registering fifty below 
zero, and each time he broke through he was 
compelled for very life to build a fire and dry 
his garments. 

Nothing daunted him. It was because 
nothing daunted him that he had been chosen 
for government courier. He took all nianner 
of risks, resolutely thrusting his little weazened 
face into the fi-ost and struggling on from dim 
dawn to dark. He skirted the fi-owning 
shores on rim ice that bent and crackled 
under foot and upon which they dared not 
halt. Once, the sled broke through, with 
Dave and Buck, and they were half-frozen 
and all but drowned by the time they were 
dragged out The usual fire was necessary to 
save them. They were coated solidly with 
ice, and the two men kept them on the run 
around the fire, sweating and thawing, so close 
that they were singed by the flames. 

At another time Spitz went through, drag- 
ging the whole team after him up to Buck, 
who strained backward with all his strength, 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


his fore paws on the slippery edge and the 
ice quivering and snapping all around. But 
behind him was Dave, likewise straining back- 
ward, and behind the sled was Fran9ois, 
pulling till his tendons cracked. 

Again, the rim ice broke away before and 
behind, and there was no escape except up 
the cliff. Perrault scaled it by a miracle, 
while Fran9ois prayed for just that miracle; 
and with every thong and sled lashing and the 
last bit of harness rove into a long rope, the 
dogs were hoisted, one by one, to the cliif 
crest. Fran9ois came up last, after the 
sled and load. Then came the search for a 
place to descend, which descent was ultimately 
made by the aid of the rope, and night found 
them back on the river with a quarter of a 
mile to the day's credit. 

By the time they made the Hootalinqua 
and good ice. Buck was played out. The 
rest of the dogs wfere in like condition; but 
Perrault, to make up lost time, pushed them 
late and early. The first day they covered 
thirty-five miles to the Big Salmon; the next 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


day thirty-five more to the Little Salmon ; the 
third day forty miles^ which brought them well 
up toward the Five Fingers. v 

Buck's feet were not so compact and hard 
as the feet of the huskies. His had softened 
during the many generations since the day 
his last wild ancestor was tamed by a cave- 
dweller or river man. All day long he 
limped in agony^ and camp once made, lay 
down like a dead dog. Hungry as he was, 
he would not move to receive his ration of 
fish, which Fran9ois had to bring to him. 
Also, the dog-driver rubbed Buck's feet for 
half an hour each night after supper, and 
sacrificed the tops of his own moccasins to 
make four moccasins for Buck. This was a 
great relief, and Buck caused even the weazened 
face of Perrault to twist itself into a grin one 
morning, when Fran9ois forgot the moccasins 
and Buck lay on his back, his four feet waving 
appealingly in the air, and refused to budge with- 
out them. Later his feet grew hard to the trail, 
and the worn-out foot-gear was thrown away. 

At the Pelly one morning, as they were 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


harnessing up^ Dolly, who had never been 
conspicuous for anything, went suddenly mad. 
She announced her condition by a long, heart- 
breaking wolf howl that sent every dog bris* 
tling with fear, then sprang straight for Buck. 
He had never seen a dog* go mad, nor did 
he have any reason to fear madness; yet he 
knew that here was horror, and fled away 
from it in a panic. Straight away he raced, 
with Dolly, pandng and frothing, one leap 
behind ; nor could she gain on him, so great 
was his terror, nor could he leave her, so great 
was her madness. He plunged through the 
wooded breast of the island, flew down to 
the lower end, crossed a back channel filled 
with rough ice to another island, gsdned a 
third island, curved back to the main river, 
and in desperation started to cross it And 
all the time, though he did not look, he 
could hear her snarling just one leap behind. 
Fran9ois called to him a quarter of a mile 
away and he doubled back, still one leap 
ahead, gasping painfully for air and putting 
all his fiuth in that Fran9ois would save 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Mm. The dog-driver held the axe poised 
in his hand, and as Buck shot past him the 
axe crashed down upon mad DoUy'^s head. 

Buck staggered over against the sled» ex- 
hausted) sobbing for breathy helpless. This 
was Spitz's opportunity. He sprang upon 
Buck, and twice his teeth sank into his un- 
resisting foe and ripped and tore the flesh 
to the bone. Then Fran9ois*s lash descended, 
and Buck had the satisfaction of watching Spitz 
receive the worst whipping as yet administered 
to any of the teams. 

" One devil, dat Spitz,'* remarked Perrault, 
*^Some dam day heem keel dat Buck.** 

" Dat Buck two devils,** was Franfois's 
rejoinder. *^A11 de tam I watch dat Buck 
I know for sure. Lisfsen: some dam fine 
day heem get mad lak hell an* den heem chew 
dat Spitz all up an* spit heem out on de 
snow. Sure. I know.** 

From then on it was war between diem. 
Spitz, as lead-dog and acknowledged master 
of the team, felt his supremacy threatened by 
this strange Southknd dog. And strange 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Buck was to him, for of the many Southland 
dogs he had known, not one had shown up 
worthily in camp and on trail. They were 
all too soft, dying under the toil, the frost, 
and starvation. Buck was the exception. He 
alone endured and prospered, matching the 
husky in strength, savagery, and cunningo 
Then he was a masterful dog, and what made 
him dangerous was the fact that the club of 
the man in the red sweater had knocked all 
blind pluck and rashness out of his desire 
for mastery. He was preeminently cunning, 
and could bide his time with a patience that 
was nothing less than primitive. 

It was inevitable that the clash for leader- 
ship should come. Buck wanted it. He 
wanted it because it was his nature, because 
he had been gripped tight by that nameless, 
incomprehensible pride of the trail and trace 
— that pride which holds dogs in the toil to 
the last gasp, which lures them to die joyfully 
in the harness, and breaks their hearts if they 
are cut out of the harness. This was the 
pride of Dave as wheel-dog, of Sol-leks as 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


he pulled with all his strength ; the pride that 
laid hold of them at break of camp^ trans* 
forming them from sour and sullen brutes into 
straining, eager, ambitious creatures ; the pride 
that spurred them on all day and dropped 
them gt pitch of camp at night, letting them 
fall back into gloomy unrest and uncontent 
This was the pride that bore up Spitz and 
made him thrash the sled-dogs who blundered 
and shirked in the traces or hid away at 
harness-up time in the morning. Likewise 
it was this pride that made him fear Buck 
as a possible lead-dog. And this was Buck's 
pride, too. 

He openly threatened the other's leader- 
ship. He came between him and the shirks 
he should have punished. And he did it 
deliberately. One night there was a heavy 
snowfall, and in the morning Pike, the malin- 
gerer, did not appear. He was securely hid- 
den in his nest under a foot of snow. Fran9ois 
called him and sought him in vaino Spit? 
was wild with wrath. He raged through the 
camp, smelling and digging in every likely 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


place, snarling so frightfully that Pike heard 
and shivered in his hiding-place. 

But when he was at last unearthed, and 
Spitz flew at him to punish him. Buck flew, 
with equal rage, in between. So unexpected 
was it, and so shrewdly managed, that Spitz 
was hurled backward and oflT his feet. Pike, 
who had been trembling abjectly, took heart 
at this open mutiny, and sprang upon his 
overthrown leader. Buck, to whom fair play 
was a forgotten code, likewise sprang upon 
Spitz. But Ffan9ois, chuckling at the inci- 
dent while unswerving in the administration 
of justice, brought his lash down upon Buck 
with all his might. This failed to drive Buck 
from his prostrate rival, and the butt of the 
whip was brought into play. HalfrStunned 
by the blow. Buck was knocked backward and 
the lash laid upon him again and again, while 
Spitz soundly punished the many times oflTend- 
ing Pike. 

In the days that followed, as Dawson grew 
closer and closer. Buck still continujed to inter- 
fere between Spitz and the culprits ; but he 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 


did it craftily, when Fran9ois was not around 
With the covert mutiny of Buck, a general in- 
subordination sprang up and increased. Dave 
and Sol-leks were unaffected, but the rest of 
the team went from bad to worse. Things 
no longer went right. There was continual 
bickering and jangling. Trouble was always 
afoot, and at the bottom of it was Buck. He 
kept Fran9ois busy, for the dog-driver was 
in constant apprehension of the life-and-death 
struggle between the two which he knew must 
take place sooner or later ; and on more than 
one night the sounds of quarrelling and strife 
among the other dogs turned him out of his 
sleeping robe, fearful that Buck and Spitz were 
at it 

But the opportiinity did not present itself, 
and they pulled into Dawson one dreary after- 
noon with the great fight still to come^ Here 
were many men, and countless dogs, and Buck 
found them all at work. It seemed the or- 
dained order of things that dogs should worko 
All day they swung up and down the main 
street in long teams, and in the night their 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Jingling bells still went by. They hauled 
cabin logs and firewood^ freighted up to the 
mines, and did all manner of work that horses 
did in the Santa Clara Valley. Here and 
there Buck met Southland dogSy but in the 
main they were the wild wolf husky breedo 
Every night, regularly, at nine, at twelve, at 
three, they lifted a nocturnal song, a weird and 
eerie chant, in ^hich it was Buck's delight to 

With the aurora borealis flaming coldly 
overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost 
dance, and the land numb and frozen under 
its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might 
have been the defiance of life, only it was 
pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wail- 
ings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading 
of life, the articulate travail of existencCo It 
was an old song, old as the breed itself— one 
of the first songs of the younger world in n 
day when songs were sad. It was invested 
with the woe of unnumbered generations, this 
plaint by which Buck was so strangely stirredo 
When he moaned and sobbed, it was with the 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

'With the aurora borealis flaming; coldly overhead." 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


pdn of living that was of old the pain of his 
wild fathers, and the fear and mystery of the 
cold and dark that was to them fear and mys- 
tery. And that he should be stirred by it 
marked the completeness with which he harked 
back through the ages of fire and roof to the 
raw beginnings of life in the howling ages. 

Seven days from the time they pulled into 
Dawson, they dropped down the steep bank 
by the Barracks to the Yukon Trail, and 
pulled for Dyea and Salt Water, Perrault 
was carrying despatches if anything more ur- 
gent than those he had brought in ; also, the 
travel pride had gripped him, and he purposed 
to make the record trip of the year. Several 
things favored him in this. The week's rest 
had recuperated the dogs and put them in 
thorough trim. The trail they had broken 
into the country was packed hard by later 
journeyers. And further, the police had ar- 
ranged in two or three places deposits of grub 
for dog and man, and he was travelling light. 

They made Sixty Mile, which is a fifty-mile 
run, on the first day ; and the second day saw 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


them booming up the Yukon well on their 
way to Pellyo But such splendid ranning was 
achieved not without great trouble and vexa- 
tion on the part of Fran9ois. The insidious 
revolt led by Buck had destroyed the solidarity 
of the team. It no longer was as one dog 
leaping in the traces. The encouragement 
Buck gave the rebels led them into all kinds 
of petty misdemeanors. No more was Spitz 
a leader greatly to be feared. The old awe 
departed) and they grew equal to challenging 
his authority. Hke robbed him of half a fish 
one night, and gulped it down under the pro* 
tcction of Buck. Another night Dub and Joe 
fought Spitz and made him forego the punish- 
ment they deserved. And even Billee, the 
good-natured) was less good-natured, and 
whined not half so placadngly as in former 
days. Buck never came near Spitz without 
snarling and bristling menadngly. In hct^ 
his conduct approached that of a bully, and 
he was given to swaggering up and down 
before Spitz's very nose. 

The breaking down of discipline likewise 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


affected the dogs in their relations with one 
another They quarrelled and bickered more 
than ever among themselves^ till at times the 
camp was a howling bedlam, Dave and Sol- 
leks alone were unaltered, though they were 
made irritable by the unending squabbling. 
Fran9ois swore strange barbarous oaths, and 
stamped the snow in futile rage, and tore his 
hair. His lash was always singing among the 
dogs, but it was of small avail. Directly his 
back was turned they were at it again. He 
backed up Spitz with his whip, while Buck 
backed up the remainder of the team. Fran- 
9ois knew he was behind all the trouble, and 
Buck knew he knew ; but Buck was too clever 
ever again to be caught red*handed. He 
worked faithfully in the harness, for the toil 
had become a delight to him; yet it was a 
greater delight slyly to precipitate a fight 
amongst his mates and tangle the traces. 

At the mouth of the Tahkeena, one night 
after supper. Dub turned up a snowshoe rab- 
bit, blu'^dered it, and missed. In a second the 
whole team was in full cry^ A hundred yards 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


away was a camp* of the Northwest Police, 
with fifty dogs, huskies all, who joined the 
chase. The rabbit sped down the river, 
turned off into a small creek, up the frozen 
bed of which it held steadily. It ran lightly 
on the surface of the snow, while the dogs 
ploughed through by m^n strength. Buck 
led the pack, sixty strong, around bend after 
bend, but he could not gain. He lay down 
low to the race, whining eagerly, his splendid 
body flashing forward, leap by leap, in the wan 
white moonlight. And leap by leap, like 
some pale frost wraith, the snowshoe rabbit 
flashed on aheado 

All that stirring of old instincts which at 
stated periods drives men out from the sound* 
ing dties to forest and plsun to kill things by 
chemically propelled leaden pellets, the blood 
lust, the joy to kill — all this was Buck's, 
only it was infinitely more intimate. He was 
ranging at the head of the pack, running the 
wild thing down, the living meat, to kill with 
Ms own teeth and wash his muzzle to the eyes 
M warm blood. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


There is an ecstasy that marks the summit 
of life, and beyond which life cannot risco 
And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy 
comes when one is most alive, and it comes 
as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. 
This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes 
to the artist, caught up and out of himself in 
a sheet of flame ; it comes to the soldier, war- 
mad on a stricken field and refusing quarter 5 
and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounds 
ing the old wolf-cry, straining after the food 
that was alive and that fled swiftly before him 
through the moonlight. He was sounding 
the deeps of his nature, and of the parts 
of his nature that were deeper than he^ 
going back into the womb of Time. He 
was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the 
tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of eacln 
separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was 
everything that was not death, that it was 
aglow and rampant, expressing itself in move- 
ment, flying exultantly under the stars and 
over the face of dead matter that did not 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


But SpitZy cold and calculating even in hm 
aupreme moods^ left the pack and cut across a 
narrow neck of land where the creek made 
a long bend around. Buck did not know of 
this, and as he rounded the bend, the frost 
wraith of a rabbit still flitting before him, he 
saw another and larger frost wraith leap from 
the overhanging bank into the immediate path 
of the rabbit. It was Spitz, ' The rabbit could 
not turn, and as the white teeth broke its back 
in mid air it shrieked as loudly as a stricken 
man may shriek. At sound of this, the cry 
of Life plunging down from Ufe's apex in the 
grip of Death, the full pack at Buck's heels 
raised a hell's chorus of delight. 

Buck did not c^ out He did not check 
himself, but drove in upon Spitz, shoulder to 
shoulder, so hard that he missed the throat 
They rolled over and over in the powdery 
snow. Spitz gained his feet almost as though 
he had not been overthrown, slashing Buck 
down the shoulder and leaping clear. Tmat 
his teeth clipped together, like the steel jaws 
<Df a trap, as he backed away for better foot^ 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


ing, with lean and lifting lips that writhed and 

In a flash Buck knew it The time had 
comeo It was to the death. As they circled 
about, snarling, ears laid back, keenly watchful 
for the advantage, the scene came to Buck 
with a sense of familiarity. He seemed to re- 
member it all, -^ the white woods, and earthy 
and moonlight, and the thrill of battle. Over 
the whiteness and silence brooded a ghostly 
calm. There was not the faintest whisper of 
air — nothing moved, not a leaf quivered, the 
visible breaths of the dogs rising slowly and 
lingering in the frosty dr. They had made 
short work of the snowshoe rabbit, these dogs 
that were ill-tamed wolves ; and they were now 
drawn up in an expectant circle. They, tooj, 
were silent, their eyes only gleaming and their 
breaths drifting slowly upward. To Buck it 
was nothing new or strange, this scene of old 
dme. It was as though it had always been^ 
the wonted way of things. 

Spitz was a practised fighter. From Spitz- 
bergen through the Arcdc, and across Canad$> 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


V nd the Barrens, he had held his own with all 
manner of dogs and achieved to mastery over 
them. Bitter rage was his, but never blind 
rage. In passion to rend and destroy, he 
never forgot that his enemy was in like pas- 
sion to rend and destroy. He never rushed 
till he was prepared to receive a rush; never 
attacked till he had first defended that at- 

In vain Buck strove to sink his teeth in 
the neck of the big white dog. Wherever his 
i&ngs struck for the softer flesh, they were 
countered by the fangs of Spitz. Fang clashed 
fang, and lips were cut and bleeding, but Buck 
could not penetrate his enemy's guard. Then 
he warmed up and enveloped Spitz in a whirl- 
wind of rushes. Time and time again he 
tried for the snow-white throat, where life 
bubbled near to the surface, and each time 
and every time Spitz slashed him and got awayo 
Then Buck took to rushing, as though for the 
throat, when, suddenly drawing back his head 
and curving in from the side, he would drive 
his shoulder at the shoulder of Spitz, as a ram 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

' It was to the d«ath." 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


by which to overthrow hinio But instead^ 
Buck's shoulder was slashed down each time 
as Spitz leaped lightly away. 

Spitz was untouched^ while Buck was 
streaming with blood and panting hard. The 
fight was growing desperate. And all the while 
the silent and wolfish circle waited to finish ofiT 
whichever dog went down« As Buck grew 
winded. Spitz took to rushing, and he kept him 
staggering for footing. Once Buck went over, 
and the whole circle of sixty dogs started 
up ; but he recovered himself^ almost in 
mid air^ and the circle sank down again and 

But Buck possessed a quality that made for 
greatness — imagination. He fought by in- 
stinct, but he could fight by head as well. He 
rushed, as though attempting the old shoulder 
trick, but at the last instant -swept low to the 
snow and in. His teeth closed on Spitz's left 
fore leg. There was a crunch of breaking 
bone, and the white dog faced him on three 
legs. Thrice he tried to knock him over, theie 
repeated the trick and broke the right fore leg. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Despite the pain and helplessness^ Spitz strug- 
gled madly to keep up. He saw the silent 
circle, with gleaming eyes, lolling tongues, 
and silvery breaths drifting upward, closing 
in upon him as he had seen similar circles 
close in upon beaten antagonists in the past. 
Only this time he was the one who was 

There was no hope for him. Buck was 
inexorable. Mercy was a thing reserved for 
gentler climes. He manoeuvred for the final 
rush. The circle had tightened till he could 
feel the breaths of the huskies on his flanks. 
He could see them, beyond Spitz and to either 
side, half crouching for the spring, their eyes 
fixed upon him. A pause seemed to fall. 
Every animal was motionless as though turned 
to stone. Only Spitz quivered and bristled 
as he staggered back and forth, snarling with 
horrible menace, as though to frighten oflT im~ 
pending death. Then Buck sprang in and 
out ; but while he was in^ shoulder had at last 
squarely met shoulder. The dark circle be- 
oune a dot on the moon-flooded snow as 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Spitz disappeared from view. Buck stood and 
looked on, the successful champion, the domi- 
nant primordial beast who had made his kill 
and found it good. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Digitized by 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


Who has won to Mastership 

'' TT^H ? Wot I say ? I spik true w'cn I 

wT^j say dat Buck* two devils." 

This was Fran9ois's speech next 
morning when he discovered Spitz missing 
and Buck covered with wounds. He drew 
him to the fire and by its light pointed them 

** Dat Spitz fight lak hell/' swd Perrault, as 
he surveyed the gaping rips and cuts. 

**AnVdat Buck fight lak two hells/* was 
Fran9ois*s answer. ** An* now we nuke good 
time. No more Spitz, no more trouble, sure." 

While Perrault packed the camp outfit and 
loaded the sled, the dog-driver proceeded to 
harness the dogs. Buck trotted up to the 
place Spitz would have occupied as leader; but 
Fran9ois, not noticing him, brought Sol-leka 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


to the coveted position. In his judgment^ 
SoMeks was the best lead-dog left Buck 
sprang upon Sol-leks in a fiiry, driving him 
back and standing in hb place. 

"Eh? eh?** Fran9oi3 cried, slapping his 
thighs gleefully. ** Look at dat Buck. Heem 
keel dat Spitz, heem t'ink to take dc job.*' 

"Go Vay, Chook!** he cried, but Buck 
refused to budge. 

He took Buck by the scruff of the neck, and 
though the dog growled threateningly, dragged 
him to one side and replaced Sol-leks. The 
old dog did not like it,. and showed plainly 
that he was afrdd of Buck. Fran9ois was 
obdurate, but when he turned his back Buck 
again displaced Sol-leks, who was not at all 
unwilling to go. 

Fran9ois was angry. "Now, by Gar, I 
feex you!" he cried, coming back with a 
heavy club in his hand. 

Buck remembered the man in the red 
sweater, and retreated slowly; nor did he 
attempt to charge in when Sol-leks was once 
more brought forward. But he circled just 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


beyond the range of the club^ snarling with 
bitterness and rage; and while he circled he 
watched the club so as to dodge it if thrown 
by Fran9ois9 for he was become wise in the 
way of clubs. 

The driver went about his work, and he 
called to Buck when he was ready to put him 
in his old place in front of Dave. Buck re- 
treated two or three steps. Fran9ois followed 
him up, whereupon he again retreated. After 
some time of this, Fran9ois threw down the 
club, thinking that Buck feared a thrashingo 
But Buck was in open revolt. He wanted, 
not to escape a clubbing, but to have the 
leadership. It was his by right. He had 
earned it, and he would not be content with 

Perrault took a hand. Between them they 
ran him about for the better part of an hour. 
They threw clubs at him. He dodged. They 
cursed him, and his fathers and mothers before 
him, and all his seed to come after him down 
to the remotest generation, and every hair on 
his body and drop of blood in his veins ; and 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


he answered curse with snarl and kept out of 
their reach. He did not try to run away, but 
retreated around and around the camp, adver- 
tising plainly that when his desire was met, he 
would come in and be good. 

Fran9ois sat down and scratched his head. 
Perrault looked at his watch and swore. Time 
was flying, and they should have been on the 
trail an hour gone. Fran9ois scratched his 
head agdn. He shook it and grinned sheep- 
ishly at the courier, who shrugged his shoul- 
ders in sign that they were beaten. Then 
Fran9ois went up to where SoUeks stood and 
called to Buck. Buck laughed, as dogs laugh, 
yet kept his distance. Fran9ois unfastened 
Sol-leks's traces and put him back in his old 
place. The team stood harnessed to the sled 
in an unbroken line, ready for the trail. 
There was no place for Buck save at the front 
Once more Fran9ois called, and once more 
Buck laughed and kept away. 

** T'row down de club,'* Perrault commanded. 

Fran9ois complied, whereupon Buck trotted 
in, laughing triumphantly, and swung around 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Into position at the head of the team. His 
traces were fastened, the sled broken out, and 
with both men running they dashed out on to 
the river traiL 

Highly as the dog-driver had forevalued 
Buck, with his two devils, he found, while the 
day was yet young, that he had undervalued. 
At a bound Buck took up the duties of leader- 
ship; and where judgment was required, and 
quick thinking and quick acting, he showed 
himself the superior even of Spitz, of whom 
Fran9ois had never seen an equaL 

But it was in giving the law and making his 
mates live up to it, that Buck excelled. Dave 
and Sol-leks did not mind the change in leader- 
ship. It was none of their business. Their 
business was to toil, and toil mightily, in the 
traces. So long as that were not interfered 
with, they did not care what happened. Billee, 
the good-natured, could lead for all they cared, 
so long as he kept order. The rest of the team, 
however, had grown unruly during the last 
days of Spitz, and their surprise was great now 
that Buck proceeded to lick them into shape. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Pike, who pulled at Buck's heels, and who 
never put an ounce more of his weight against 
the breast-band than he was compelled to do, 
was swiftly and repeatedly shaken for loafing ; 
and ere the first day was done he was pulling 
more than ever before in his life. The first 
night in camp, Joe, the sour one, was punished 
roundly — a thing that Spitz had never suc- 
ceeded in doing. Buck simply smothered him 
by virtue of superior weight, and cut him up 
till he ceased snapping and began to whine for 

The general tone of the team picked up 
immediately. It recovered its old-time soli- 
darity, and once more the dogs leaped as one 
dog in the traces. At the Rink Rapids two 
native huskies, Teek and Koona, were added ; 
and the celerity with which Buck broke them 
in took away Fran9ois's breath. 

" Nevaire such a dog as dat Buck I ** he 
cried. " No, nevaire ! Heem worth one 
t'ousan' doUair, by Gar! Eh? Wot you 
say, Perrault?** 

And Perrault nodded. He was ahead of 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


the record then, and gaining day by day* 
The trail was in excellent condition, well 
packed and hard, and there was no new-fallen 
snow with which to contend. It was not too 
cold. The temperature dropped to fifty below 
zero and remained there the whole trip. The 
men rode and ran by turn, and the dogs were 
kept on the jump, with but infrequent stoppages. 

The Thirty Mile River was comparatively 
coated with ice, and they covered in one day 
going out what had taken them ten days 
coming in. In one run they made a sixty- 
mile dash from the foot of Lake Le Barge 
to the White Horse Rajpids. Across Marsh, 
Tagish, and Bennett (seventy miles of lakes), 
they flew so fast that the man whose turn it 
was to run towed behind the sled at the end of 
a rope. And on the last night of the second 
week they topped White Pass and dropped 
down the sea slope with the lights of Skaguay 
and of the shipping at their feet. 

It was a record run. Each day for fourteen 
days they had averaged forty miles. For three 
days Perrault and Fran9ois threw chests up 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and down the main street of Skaguay and were 
deluged with invitations to drink, while the 
team was the constant centre of a worshipful 
crowd of dog-busters and mushers. Then 
three or four western bad men aspired to 
clean out the town, were riddled like pepper- 
boxes for their pains, and public interest 
turned to other idols. Next came official 
orders. Fran9ois called Buck to him, threw 
his arms around him, wept over him. And 
that was the last of Fran9ois and Perrault 
Like other men, they passed out of Buck's 
life for good. 

A Scotch half-breed took charge of him and 
his mates, and in company with a dozen other 
dog-teams he started back over the weary trail 
to Dawson. It was no light running now, nor 
record time, but heavy toil each day, with a 
heavy load behind ; for this was the mdl train, 
carrying word from the world to the men who 
sought gold under the shadow of the Pole. 

Buck did not like it, but he bore up well to 
the work, taking pride in it after the manner 
of Dave and Sol-leks, and seeing that his 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


mates, whether they prided in it or not, did 
their fair share. It was a monotonous life, 
operating with machine-like regularity. One 
day was very like another. At a certain time 
each morning the cooks turned out, fires were 
built, and breakfast was eaten. Then, while 
some broke camp, others harnessed the dogs, 
and they were under way an hour or so before 
the darkness fell which gave warning of dawn. 
At night, camp was made. Some pitched the 
flies, others cut firewood and pine boughs for 
the beds, and still others carried water or ice 
for the cooks. Also, the dogs were fed. To 
them, this was the one feature of the day, 
though it was good to loaf around, after the 
fish was eaten, for an hour or so with the other 
dogs, of which there were fivescore and odd. 
There were fierce fighters among them, but 
three battles with the fiercest brought Bjuck 
to mastery, so that when he bristled and 
showed his teeth they got out of his way. 

Best of all, perhaps, he loved to lie near the 
fire, hind legs crouched under him, fore legs 
stretched out in front, head raised, and ey«8 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


blinking dreamily at the flames. Sometimes 
he thought of Judge Miller's big house in the 
sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley, and of the 
cement swimming-tank, and Ysabel, the Mexi« 
can hairless, and Toots, the Japanese pug; 
but oftener he remembered the man in the 
red sweater, the death of Curly, the great fight 
with Spitz, and the good things he had eaten 
or would like to eat. He was not homesick. 
The Sunland was very dim and distant, and such 
memories had no power over him. Far more 
potent were the memories of his heredity that 
gave things he had never seen before a seeming 
£uniliarity; the instincts (which were but the 
memories of his ancestors become habits) 
which had lapsed in later days, and still later, 
in him, quickened and become alive again. 

Sometimes as he crouched there, blinking 
dreamily at the flames, it seemed that the 
flames were of another fire, and that as he 
crouched by this other fire he saw another and 
dififerent man from the half-breed cook before 
lum. This other man was shorter of leg and 
longer of arm, with muscles that were stringy 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and knotty rather than rounded and swellingo 
The hair of this man was long and matted, 
and his head slanted back under it from the, 
eyes. He uttered strange sounds, and seemed 
very much afraid of the darkness, into which 
he peered continually, clutching in his hand, 
which hung midway between knee and foot, a 
stick with a heavy stone made fast to the end. 
He was all but naked, a ragged and fire- 
scorched skin hanging part way down his 
back, but on his body there was much hair. 
In some places, across the chest and shoulders 
and down the ou^*^^'^« of the arms and thighs, 
it was matted into almost a thick frir. He did 
not stand erect, but with trunk inclined for- 
ward from the hips, on legs that bent at the 
kneeso About his body there was a peculiar 
springiness, or resiliency, almost catlike, and a 
quick alertness as of one who lived in perpetual 
fear of things seen and unseen, • 

At other times this hairy man squatted by 
the fire with head between his legs and slepto 
On such occasions his elbows were on his 
knees, his hands clasped above hb head as 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


though to shed rain by the hairy arms. And 
beyond that fire, in the circling darkness. Buck 
could see many gleaming coals, two by two, 
always two by two, which he knew to be the 
eyes of great beasts of prey. And he could 
hear the crashing of their bodies through the 
undergrowth, and the noises they made in the 
night. And dreaming there by the Yukon 
bank, with lazy eyes blinking at the fire, these 
sounds and sights of another world would 
make the hair to rise along his back and stand 
on end across his shoulders and up his neck, 
till he whimpered low and suppressedly, or 
growled softly, and the half-breed cook shouted 
at him, *• Hey, you Buck, wake up 1 "" 
Whereupon the other world would vanish and 
the real world come into his eyes, and he would 
get up and yawn and stretch as though he had 
been asleep. 

It was a hard trip, with the mail behind 
them, and the heavy work wore them downo 
They were short of weight and in poor con- 
dition when they made Dawson, and should 
have had a ten days' or a week's rest at least 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


But in two days* tiii\e they dropped down the 
Yukon bank from the Barracks^ loaded with 
letters for the outside. The dogs were tired, 
the drivers grumbling, and to make ^matters 
worse, it snowed every day. This meant a 
soft trail, greater friction on the runners, and 
heavier pulling for the dogs; yet the drivers 
were fair through it all, and did their best for 
the animals. 

Each night the dogs were attended to first. 
They ate before the drivers ate, and no man 
sought his sleeping-robe till he had seen to the 
feet of the dogs he drove. Still, their strength 
went down. Since the beginning of the winter 
they had travelled eighteen hundred miles, 
dragging sleds the whole weary distance ; and 
eighteen hundred miles will tell upon life of 
the toughest. Buck stood it, keeping his 
mates up to their work and maintaining dis- 
cipline, though he, too, was very tired. Billee 
cried and whimpered regularly in his sleep 
each night. Joe was sourer than ever, and 
Sol-leks was unapproachable, blind side or other 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


But it was Dave who suffered most of all. 
Something had gone wronp; with him. He 
became more morose and irritable, and when 
camp was pitched at once made his nest, where 
his driver fed him. Once out of the harness 
and dc/wn, he did not get on his feet again till 
harness-up time in the morning. Sometimes, 
in the traces, when jerked by a sudden stop- 
page of the sled, or by strdning to start it, he 
would cry out with pdn. The drive* ex- 
amined him, but could find nothing. All 
the drivers became interested in his case. 
They talked it over at meal-time, and over 
their last pipes before going to bed, and one 
night they held a consultation* He was 
brought from his nest to the fire and was 
pressed and prodded till he cried out many 
times. Something was wrong inside, but they 
could locate no broken bones, could not make 
it out. 

By the time Cassiar Bar was reached, he 
was so weak that he was falling repeatedly in 
the traces. The Scotch half-breed called a 
halt and took him out of the team, making the 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


next dog, Sol-Ieks, fast to the sled. His in- 
tention was to rest Dave, letting him ran free 
behind the sled. Sick as he was, Dave re- 
sented being taken out, granting and growling 
while the traces were unfastened, and whimper- 
ing broken-heartedly when he saw Sol-leks in 
the position he had held and served so long. 
For the pride of trace and trail was his, and, 
sick unto death, he could not bear that another 
dog should do his work. 

When the sled started, he floundered in the 
soft snow alongside the beaten trail, attacking 
Sol-leks with his teeth, rushing against him 
and trying to thrast him off into the soft snow 
on the other side, striving to leap inside his 
traces and get between him and the sled, and 
all the while whining and yelping and crying 
with grief and pdn. The half-breed tried to 
drive him away with the whip ; but he paid no 
heed to the stinging lash, and the man had not 
the heart to strike harden Dave refused to 
ran quietly on the trail behind the sled, where 
the going was easy, but continued to flounder 
alongside in the soft snow, where the going 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


was most difficult, till exhausted. Then he 
fell, and lay where he fell, howling lugubriously 
as the long train of sleds churned by. 

With the last remnant of his strength he 
managed to stagger along behind till the train 
made another stop, when he floundered past 
the sleds to his own, where he stood alongside 
SoUeks. His driver lingered a moment to 
get a light for his pipe from the man behind. 
Then he returned and started his dogs. They 
swung out on the trail with remarkable lack 
of exertion, turned their heads uneasily, and 
stopped in surprise. The driver was surprised, 
too ; the sled had not moved. He called his 
comrades to witness the sight. Dave had 
bitten through both of Sol-leks's traces, and 
was standing directly in front of the sled in his 
proper place. 

He pleaded indth his eyes to remain there. 
The driver was perplexed. His comrades 
talked of how a dog could break its heart 
through being denied the work that killed it, 
and recalled instances they had known, where 
dogs, too old for the toil, or injured, had died 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


because they were cut out of the traces. Also, 
they held it a mercy, since Dave was to die 
anyway, that he should die in the traces, heart- 
ea^y and content. So he was harnessed in 
again, and proudly he pulled as of old, though 
more than once he cried out involuntarily from 
the bite of his inward hurt. Several times he 
fell down and was dragged in the traces, and 
once the sled ran upon him so that he limped 
thereafter in one of his hind legs. 

But he held out till camp was reached, when 
his driver made a place for him by the fire. 
Morning found him too weak to travel. At 
harness-up time he tried to crawl to his driver. 
By convulsive efforts he got on his feet, stag- 
gered, and fell. Then he wormed his way 
forward slowly toward where the harnesses 
were being put on his mates. He would ad- 
vance his fore legs and drag up his body with 
a sort of hitching movement, when he would 
advance his fore legs and hitch ahead again for 
a few more inches. His strength left him, and 
the last his mates saw of him he lay gasping 
in the snow and yearning toward them. But 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


they could hear him mournfully howling till 
they passed out of sight behind a belt of river 

Here the train was halted. The Scotch 
half-breed slowly retraced his steps to the 
camp they had left. The men ceased talking. 
A revolver-shot rang out. The man came 
back hurriedly. The whips snapped, the bells 
tinkled merrily, the sleds churned along the 
trail; but Buck knew, arid every dog knew, 
what had taken place behind the belt of river 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

The ToU of Trace and Trail 

THIRTY days from the time it icft 
Dawson, the Salt Water Mail, with 
Buck and his mates at the fore, ar- 
rived at Skaguay, They were in a wretched 
state, worn out and worn down. Buck's one 
hundred and forty pounds had dwindled to 
one hundred and fifteen. The rest of his 
mates, though lighter dogs, had relatively lost 
more weight than he. Pike, the malingerer, 
who, in his lifetime of deceit, had often suc- 
cessfully feigned a hurt leg, was now limping 
in earnest. Sol-leks was limping, and Dub 
was suffering from a wrenched shoulder- 

They were all terribly footsore. No spring 
or rebound was left in them. Their feet fell 
heavily on the trail, jarring their bodies and 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


doubling the fatigue of a day*s traveL There 
was nothing the matter with them except that 
they were dead tired. It was not the dead- 
tiredness that comes through brief and ex- 
cessive effort, from which recovery is a 
matter of hours; but it was the dead-tired- 
ness that comes through the slow and pro- 
longed strength drainage of months of toiL 
There was no power of recuperation left, no 
reserve strength to call upon. It had been 
all used, the last least t)it of it Every 
muscle, every fibre, every cell, was tired, 
dead tired. And there was reason for it. 
In less than five months they had travelled 
twenty-five hundred miles, during the last 
eighteen hundred of which they had had 
but five days* rest. When they arrived at 
Skaguay they were apparently on their last 
legs. They could barely keep the traces 
taut, and on the down grades just managed 
to keep out of the way of the sled. 

*• Mush on, poor sore feets,** the driver 
encouraged them as they tottered down the 
main street of Skaguay. *^ Dis is de las*o 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Den we get one long res*. Eh? For sure. 
One bully long res*/* 

The drivers confidendy expected a long 
stopover. Themselves^ they had covered 
twelve hundred miles with two days* rest, 
and in the nature of reason and common 
justice they deserved an interval of loafingo 
But so many were the men who had rushed 
into the Klondike, and so many were the 
sweethearts, wives, and kin that had not 
rushed in, that the congested mail was tak- 
ing on Alpine proportions; also, there were 
official orders. Fresh batches of Hudson 
Bay dogs were to take the places of those 
worthless for the trail. The worthless ones 
w^e to be got rid of, zrA, since dogs 
count for little against dollars, tbey were to 
be sold. 

Tlhree days passed, by whidi time Buck 
and his mates found how really dred and 
weak they vere. Then, on the morning of 
the fourth day, two men from the States 
came along and bought them, harness and 
aU| fi>r a song. The men addressed each 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


other as "Hal*' and *«Charlcs;' Charles 
was a middle-aged> lightish-colored man> with 
weak and watery eyes and a mustache tiiat 
twisted fiercely and vigorously up, giving the 
lie to the limply drooping lip it concealed* 
Hal was a youngster of nineteen or twenty ,, 
with a big Colt's revolver and a hunting- 
knife strapped about him on a belt that 
fairly bristled with cartridges. This belt was 
the most salient thing about him. It adver- 
tised his callowness — a callowness sheer and 
unutterable. Both men were manifesdy out 
of place, and why such as they should ad- 
venture the North is part of the mystery of 
things that passes understanding. 

Buck heard the chaffering, saw the money 
pass between the man and the Government 
agent, and knew that the Scotch half-breed and 
the mail-train drivers were passing out of his 
life on the heels of Perrault and Fran9ob 
and the others who had gone before. When 
driven with his mates to the new owners* 
camp. Buck saw a slipshod and slovenly 
afiair, tent half stretched, dishes unwashed^ 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


everything in disorder; also, he saw a 
woman» ** Mercedes** the men called her. 
She was Charles's wife and Hal's sister — a 
nice family party. 

Buck watched them apprehensively as they 
proceeded to take down the tent and load 
the sled. There was a great deal of effort 
about their manner, but no businesslike 
method. The tent was rolled into an awk- 
ward bundle three times as large as it should 
have been. The tin dishes were packed away 
unwashed. Mercedes continually fluttered in 
the way of her men and kept up an un-- 
broken chattering of remonstrance and advice. 
When they put a clothes-sack on the front 
of the sled, she suggested it should go on 
the back; and when they had put it on the 
back, and covered it over with a couple 
of other bundles, she discovered overlooked 
articles which could abide nowhere else but 
in that very sack, and they unloaded again. 

Three men from a neighboring tent came 
out and looked on, grinning and winking at 
one another. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


**YouVc got a right smart load as it is," 
said one of them ; *^ and it's not me should 
tell you your business, but I wouldn't tote 
that tent along if I was you/* 

•* Undreamed of!" cried Mercedes, throw- 
ing up her hands in dainty dismay, ** How- 
ever in the world could I manage without a 

"It's springtime, and you won't get any 
more cold weather," the man replied. 

She shook her head decidedly, and Charles 
and Hal put the last odds and ends on top 
the mountainous load. 

" Think it'll ride ? " one of the men asked. 

•"Why shouldn't it?" Charles demanded 
rather shortly. 

^ Oh, that's all right, that's all right," the 
man hastened meekly to say. " I was just 
a-wonderin', that is all. It seemed a mite 

Charles turned his back and drew the lash- 
ings down as well as he could, which was 
not in the least well. 

^An' of course the dogs can hike along 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


all day with that contraption behind them/' 
affirmed a second of the men. 

" Certainly/' said Hal, with freezing polite- 
ness, taking hold of the gee-pole with one 
hand and swinging his whip from the othero 
" Mush ! *' he shouted. ** Mush on there ! " 

The dogs sprang against the breast-bands, 
strained ha^d for a few moments, then relaxed. 
They were unable to move the sled. 

"The l?zy brutes, FU show them/* he cried, 
nrpf^'-rlng to lash out at them with the whip. 

But Mercedes interfered, crying, *^ Oh, Hal, 
you mujt!>*t/* as she caught hold of the whip 
and wrenched it from him. " The poor dears ! 
Now you must promise you won't be harsh 
with them for the rest of the trip, or I won't 
go a step.** 

"Precious lot you know about dogs,** her 
, brother sneered; "and I wish you'd leave me 
alone. They're lazy, I tell you, and you've 
got to whip them to get anything out of 
them. That's their way. You ask any onco 
Ask one of those men.** 

Mercedes looked at them imploringly, un- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


told repugnance at sight of pain written in her 
pretty face. 

^They're weak as water, if you want to 
know," came the reply from one of the meUo 
" Plum tuckered out, that's what's the matter. 
They need a rest.** 

**Rest be blanked," ssud Hal, with his 
beardless lips; and Mercedes said, "Oh!" 
in pain and sorrow at the oath. 

But she was a clannish creature, and rushed 
at once to the defence of her brother. ** Never 
mind that man," she said pointedly. ** You're 
driving our dogs, and you do what you think 
best with them." 

Again Hal's whip fell upon the dogs. They 
threw themselves against the breast-bands, dug 
their feet into the packed snow, got down low 
to it, and put forth all their strength. The 
sled held as though it were an anchor. After 
two efforts, they stood still, panting. The 
whip was whistling savagely, when once more 
Mercedes interfered. She dropped on her 
knees before Buck, with tears in her eyes, and 
put her arms around his neck. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


**You poor, poor dears,*' she cried sympa- 
thetically, " why don't you pull hard ? — then 
you wouldn't be whipped/* Buck did not 
Uke her, but he was feeling too miserable to 
resist her, taking it as part of the day's mis- 
erable work. 

One of the onlookers, who had been clench-* 
ing his teeth to suppress hot speech, now 
spoke up: — 

*^ It's not that I care a whoop what becomes 
of you, but for the dogs' sakes I just want 
to tell you, you can help them a mighty lot 
by breaking out that sled. The runners are 
froze fast. Throw your weight against the 
gee-pole, right and left, and break it out" 

A third time the attempt was made, but 
this time, following the advice, Hal broke 
out the runners which had been frozen to the 
snow. The overloaded and unwieldy sled 
forged ahead. Buck and his mates struggling 
frantically under the rain of blows. A hun- 
dred yards ahead the path turned and sloped 
steeply into the main street. It would have 
required an experienced man to keep the top- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


heavy sled upright^ and Hal was not such a 
man. As they swung on the turn the sled 
went over^ spilling half its load through the 
loose lashings. The dogs never stopped. 
The lightened sled bounded on its side be- 
hind them. They were angry because of the 
ill treatment they had received and the unjust 
load. Buck Was ra^ng. He broke into a 
run, the team following his lead. Hal cried 
"Whoa! whoa!" but they gave no heed. 
He tripped and was pulled ofF his feet 
The capsized sled ground over him, and the 
dogs dashed on up the street, adding to the 
gayety of Skaguay as they scattered the re- 
mainder of the outfit along its chief thorough- 
fare. ( 

Kind-hearted ddzens caught the dogs and 
gathered up the scattered belongings. Also, 
they gave advice. Half the load and twice 
the dogs, if they ever expected to reach 
Dawson, was what was said. Hal and his 
sister and brother-in-law listened unwillingly, 
pitched tent, and overhauled the outfit 
Canned goods were turned out that made men 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


kugh^ for canned goods on the Long Trail 
is a thing to dream about ^' Blankets for a 
hotel/* quoth one of the men who laughed 
and helped. **Half as many is too much; 
get rid of them. Throw away that tent, 
and all those disheS} — who's going to wash 
them, anyway? Good Lord, do you think 
you're travelling on a Pullman?** 

And so it went, the inexorable elinunation 
of the superfluous. Mercedes cried when her 
clothes-bags were dumped on the ground and 
article after article was thrown out She cried 
in genera^ and she cried in particular over 
each discarded thing. She clasped hands about 
knees, rocking back and forth broken-heart- 
edly. She averred she would not go an inch, 
not for a dozen Charleses. She appealed to 
everybody and to everything, finally wiping 
her eyes and proceeding to cast out even 
articles of apparel that were imperative neces- 
saries. And in her zeal, when she had finished 
with her own, she attacked the belon^ngs of 
her men and went through them like a tornado. 

Thb accomplished, the outfit, though cut 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



in haify was still a formidable bulk. Charles 
and Hal went out in the evening and bought 
^ix Outside dogs. These, added to the six 
of the original team, and Teek and Koona, 
the huskies obtained at the Rink Rapids on 
the record trip, brought the team up to four- 
teen. But the Outside dogs, though practically 
broken in since their landing, did not amount 
to much. Three were short-haired pointers, 
one was a Newfoundland, and the other two 
were mongrels of indeterminate breed. They 
did not seem to know anything, these new- 
comers. Buck and his comrades looked upon 
them with disgust, and though he speedily 
taught them their places and what not to do, 
he could not teach them what to do. They 
did not take kindly to trace and trail. With 
the exception of the two mongrels, they were 
bewildered and spirit-broken by the strange 
savage environment in which they found 
themselv^ and by the ill treatment they had 
received. The two mongrels were without 
spirit at all; bones were the only things 
breakable about them* 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


With the newcomers hopeless and forlorn, 
and the old team worn out by twenty-five 
hundred miles of continuous trail, the outlook 
was anything but bright. The two men, how- 
ever, were quite cheerful. And they were 
proud, too. They were doing the thing in 
style, with fourteea dogs. They had seen 
other sleds depart over the Pass for Dawson, 
or come in from Dawson, but never had they 
seen a sled with so many as fourteen dogs. 
In the nature of Arctic travel there was a reason 
why fourteen dogs should not drag one sled, 
and that was that one sled could not carry 
the food for fourteen dogs. But Charles and 
Hal did not know this. They had worked 
the trip out with a pencil, so much to a dog, 
so many dogs, so many days, Q. E. D. 
Mercedes looked over their shoulders and 
nodded comprehensively, it was all so very 

Late next morning Buck led the long team 
up the street: There was nothing lively about 
it^ no snap or go in him and his fellows. 
They were starting dead weary. Four timet 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


he had covered the distance between Salt 
Water and Dawson, and the knowledge that, 
jaded and dred, he was facing the same trail 
once more, made him bitter. His heart was 
not in the work, nor was the heart of any dog. 
The Outsides were timid and frightened, the 
Insides without confidence in their masters. 

Buck felt vaguely that there was no de- 
pending upon these two men and the woman. 
They did not know how to do anything, and 
as the days went by it became apparent that 
they could not learn. They were slack in 
all things, without order or discipline. It 
took them half the night to pitch a slovenly 
camp, and half the morning to break that 
camp and get the sled loaded in fashion so 
slovenly that for the rest of the day they 
were occupied in stopping and rearranging 
the load. Some days they did not make ten 
miles. On other days they were unable to 
get started at all. And on no day did they 
succeed in making more than half the distance 
used by the men as a basis in their dog-food: 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


It was inevitable that they should go short 
on dog-foo(L But they hastened it by over- 
feeding, brining the day nearer when under- 
feeding would commence. The Outside dogs, 
whose digestions had not been trained by 
chronic famine to make the most of little, had 
voracious appetites. And when, in addition 
to this, the worn-out huskies pulled weakly, 
Hal decided that the orthodox ration was too 
small. He doubled it. And to cap it all, 
when Mercedes, with tears in her pretty eyes 
and a quaver in her throat, could not cajole 
him into giving the dogs still more, she stole 
from the fish-sacks and fed them slyly. But 
it was not food that Buck and the huskies 
needed, but rest. And though they were 
making poor time, the heavy load they 
di^'^ggcd sapped their strength severely. 

Then came the underfeeding. Hal awoke 
one day to the fact that his dog-food was half 
gone and the distance only quarter covered; 
further, that for love or money no additional 
dog-food was to be obtained. So he cut down 
even the orthodox ration and tried to increase 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


the day's travel. His sister and brother-in- 
law seconded him; but they were frustrated 
by their heavy outfit and their own incom- 
petence. It was a simple matter to give the 
dogs less food ; but it was impossible to make 
the dogs travel faster, while their own inability 
to get under way earlier in the morning pre- 
vented them from travelling longer hours. Not 
only did they not know how to work dogs, but 
they did not know how to work themselves. 

The first to go was Dub. Poor blundering 
thief that he was, always getting caught and 
punished, he had none the less been a faithful 
worker. His wrenched shoulder-blade, un- 
treated and unrested, went from bad to worse, 
dll finally Hal shot him with the big Colt's 
revolver. It is a saying of the country that 
an Outside dog starves to death on the ration 
of the husky, so the six Outside dogs under 
Buck could do no less than die on half the 
ration of the husky. The Newfoundland 
went first, followed by the three short-haired 
pointers, the two mongrels hanging more 
grittily on to life, but going in the end. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


By this time all the amenities and gentle- 
nesses of the Southland had fallen away from 
the three people. Shorn of its glamour and 
romance, Arctic travel became to them a 
reality too harsh for their manhood and 
womanhood. Mercedes ceased weeping over 
the dogs, being too occupied with weeping 
over herself and with quarrelling with her 
husband and brother. To quarrel was the one 
thing they were never too weary to do. Their 
irritability arose out of their misery, increased 
with it, doubled upon it, outdistanced it. 
The wonderful patience of the trail which 
comes to men who toil hard and suffer sore, 
and remain sweet of speech and kindly, did 
not come to these two men and the woman. 
They had no inkling of such a patience. 
They were stiff and in pain; their muscles 
ached, their bones ached, their very hearts 
ached ; and because of this they became sharp 
of speech, and hard words were first on their 
lips in the morning and last at night. 

Charles and Hal wrangled whenever Mer- 
cedes gave them a chance. It was the chcr- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


ished belief of each that he did more than his 
share of the work, and neither forbore to 
speak this belief at every opportunity. Some- 
times Mercedes sided with her husband, some- 
times with her brother. The result was a 
beautiful and unending family quarrel. Start- 
ing from a dispute as to which should chop 
a few sticks for the fire (a dispute which con- 

cerned only Charles and Hal), presently 
would be lugged in the rest of the family, 
fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, people 
thousands of miles away, and some of them 
dead. That Hal's views on art, or the sort 
of society plays his mother's brother wrote, 
should have anything to do with the chopping 
of a few sticks of firewood, passes compre- 
hension ; nerertheless the quarrel was as likely 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


to tend in that direction as in the direction 
of Charles's political prejudices. And that 
Charles's sister's tale-bearing tongue should 
be relevant to the building of a Yukon fire, 
was apparent only to Mercedes, who disbur- 
dened herself of copious opinions upon that 
topic, and incidentally upon a few other traits 

unpleasantly peculiar to her husband's familyc 
In the meantime the fire remained unbuilt, the 
camp half pitched, and the dogs unfed. 

Mercedes nursed a special grievance — the 
grievance of sex. She was pretty and soft, 
and had been chivalrously treated all her days. 
But the present treatment by her husband and 
brother was everything save chivalrous. It 
was her custom to be helpless. They com- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


plained* Upon which impeachment of what 
to her was her most essential sex-prerogative, 
she made their lives unendurable. She no 
longer considered the dogs, and because she 
was sore and tired, she persisted in riding on 
the sled. She was pretty and soft, but she 
weighed one hundred and twenty pounds — a 
lusty last straw to the load dragged by the 
weak and starving animals. She rode for 
days, till they fell in the traces and the sled 
stood still. Charles and Hal begged her to 
get off and walk, pleaded with her, entreated, 
the while she wept and importuned Heaven 
with a recital of their brutality. 

On one occasion they took her off the 
sled by main strength. They never did it 
again. She let her legs go limp like a spoiled 
child, and sat down on the trail. They went 
on their way, but she did not move. After 
they had travelled three miles they unloaded 
the sled, came back for her, and by main 
strength put her on the sled again. 

In the excess of their own misery they 
vere callous to the suffering of their animals. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Hal's theoiyy which he practised 00 others, 
was that one must get hardened. He had 
started out preaching it to his sistaer and 
brother-in-law. Failing there, he hammered 
it into the dogs with a dub. At the Five 
Fingers the dog-food gave out, and a toothless 
old squaw offered to trade them a few pounds 
of frozen horse-hide for the Colt's revolver 
that kept the big hunting-knife company at 
Hal's hip. A poor substitute for food was 
this hide, just as it had been stripped from 
the starved horses of the catdemen six months 
back. In its frozen state it was more like 
strips of galvanized iron, and when a dog 
wrestled it into his stomach it thawed into 
thin and innutritions leathery strings and into 
a mass of short hair, irritating and indigestible. 
And through it all Buck staggered along 
at the head of the team as in a nightmare. 
He pulled when he could; when he could 
no longer pull, he fell down and remained 
down till blows frt)m whip or dub drove 
him to his feet agdn. All the stiffn^s and 
gloss had gone out of his beautiful furry coat 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


The hur hung down» limp and dragg^edt or 
matted with dried blood where Hal's club 
had bruised him. His muscles had wasted 
away to knotty strings^ and the flesh pads 
had disappeared) so that each rib and every 
bone in his frame were outlined cleanly through 
the loose hide that was wrinkled in folds of 
empdn^s. It was heartbreaking^ only Buck's 
heart was unbreakable. The man in the red 
sweater had proved that 

As it was with Buck^ so was it with lus 
mates. They were perambulating skeletons. 
There were seven all together^ including him. 
In thdr very great misery they had become 
insensible to the bite of the lash or the bruise 
of the dub. The pain of the beating was 
dull and distant^ just as the things thdr eyes 
saw and thdr ears heard seemed dull and 
distant. They were not half living, or quarter 
living. They were simply so many bags of 
bones in which sparks of life fluttered faintly. 
When a halt was made, they dropped down 
in the traces like dead dogs, and the spark 
dimmed and paled and seemed to go out 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


And when the dub or whip fell upon them, 
the spark fluttered feebly up» and they tottered 
to thdr feet and staggered on. 

There came a day when Billee, the good- 
naturedy fell and could not rise. Hal had 
traded off his revolver^ so he took the axe 
and knocked Billee on the head as he lay 
in the traces^ then cut the carcass out of the 
harness and dragged it to one side. Buck 
saw, and his mates saw, and they knew that 
this tlung was very close to them. On the 
next day Koona went, and but five of them 
remained : Joe, too fer gone to be malignant ; 
Hke, crippled and limping, only half conscious 
and not consdous enough longer to malinger ; 
Sol-leks, the one-eyed, still fidthful to the 
toil of trace and trdl, and mournful in that 
he had so little strength mA which to pull ; 
Teek, who had not travelled so far that winter 
and who was now beaten more than the others 
because he was fresher; and Buck, still at 
the head of the team, but no longer enfordng 
disdpline or striving to enforce it, blind with 
weakness half the time and keeping the trail 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


by the loom of it and by the dim fed of his 

It was beaudful spring weather, but neither 
dogs nor humans were aware of it Each 
day the sun rose earlier and set later. It 
was dawn by three in the morning, and twi- 
light lingered till nine at night The whole 
long day was a blaze of sunshine. The 
ghostly winter silence had given way to the 
great spring murmur of awakening life. Thb 
murmur arose from all the land, fraught with 
the joy of living. It came from the things 
that lived and moved again, things which had 
been as dead and which had not moved during 
the long months of frost The sap was rising 
in the pines. The willows and aspens were 
bursting out in young buds. Shrubs and 
vines were putting on fr^h garbs of green. 
Crickets sang in the nights, and in the days 
all manner of creeping, crawling things rustled 
forth into the sun. Partridges and wood- 
peckers were booming and knocking in the 
forest Squirrels were chattering, birds sing- 
ing, and overhead honked the wild-fowl driving 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


up from the south in cunning wedges that 
^plit the air. 

From every hill slope came the trickle of 
running water^ the music of unseen fountains. 
All things were thawing, bending, snapping. 
The Yukon was straining to break loose the 
ice that bound it down. It ate away from 
beneath; the sun ate from above. Air-holes 
formed, fissures sprang and spread apart, while 
thin sections of ice fell through bodily into 
the river. And amid all this bursting, rending, 
throbbing of awakening life, under the blazing 
sun and through the soft-sighing breezes, like 
wayfarers to death, staggered the two men, the 
woman, and the huskies. 

With the dogs falling, Mercedes weeping 
and riding, Hal swearing innocuously, and 
Charles's eyes wistfully watering, they stag- 
gered into John Thornton's camp at the 
mouth of White River. When they halted, 
the dogs dropped down as though they had 
all been struck dead. Mercedes dried her 
eyes and looked at John Thornton. Charles 
sat down on a 1(^ to rest. He sat down very 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


•lowly and painstakingly what of lus great 
stiffness. Hal did the talking. John Thorn- 
ton was whittling the last touches on an axe- 
handle he had made from a stick of birch. 
He whitded and listened, gave monosyllabic 
replies, and, when it was asked, terse advice. 
He knew the breed, and he gave his advice 
in the certainty that it would not be fol- 

** They told us up above that the bottom 
was dropping out of the trail and that the best 
thing for us to do was to lay over,'' Hal said 
in response to Thornton's warning to take no 
more chances on the rotten ice. ** They told 
us we couldn't make White River, and here 
we are." This last with a sneering ring of tri- 
umph in it 

••And they told you true," John Thornton 
answered. •• The bottom's likely to drop out 
at any moment. Only foob, with the blind 
luck of fools, could have made it. I tell you 
straight, I wouldn't risk my carcass on that ice 
for all the gold in Alaska." 

••That's because you're not a fool, I tup- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


pose,*' said HaL ''All the same, we'll go on 
to Dawson." He uncoiled his whip. '' Get up 
there. Buck! Hi! Get up there I Mush on!*' 

Thornton went on whittling. It was idle, 
he knew, to get between a fool and his folly ; 
while two or three fools more or less would 
not alter the scheme of things. 

But the team did not get up at the com- 
mand. It had long since passed into the stage 
where blows were required to rouse it. The 
whip flashed out, here and there, on its merd- 
less errands. John Thornton compressed his 
2ps. Sol-leks was the first to crawl to his 
feet. Teek followed. Joe came next, yelping 
with pain. Pike made painful efforts. Twice 
he fell over, when half up, and on the third 
attempt managed to rise. Buck made no 
effort He lay quietly where he had fallen. 
The lash bit into him again and again, but he 
neither whined nor struggled. Several times 
Thornton started, as though to speak, but 
changed his mind. A moisture came into his 
eyes, and, as the whipping continued, he arose 
and walked irresolutely up and down. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


This was the first' time Buck had failed, in 
itself a sufficient reason to drive Hal into a 
rage. He exchanged the whip for the custom- 
ary club. Buck refused to move under the 
rain of heavier blows which now fell upon him. 
Like his mates, he was barely able to get up, 
but, unlike them, he had made up his mind 
not to get up. He had a vague feeling of im- 
pending doom. This had been strong upon 
him when he pulled in to the bank, and it had 
not departed from him. What of the thin and 
rotten ice he had felt under his feet all day, it 
seemed that he sensed disaster close at hand, 
out there ahead on the ice where his master 
was trying to drive him. He refused to stir. 
So greatly had he suffered, and so far gone was 
he, that the blows did not hurt much. And 
as they continued to fall upon him, the spark 
of life within flickered and went down. It 
was nearly out. He felt strangely numb. As 
though from a great distance, he was aware 
that he was being beaten. The last sensations 
of pain left him. He no longer felt anything, 
though very faintly he could hear the impact 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


of the club upon his body. But it was no 
longer his body, it seemed so far away. 

And then, suddenly, without warning, utter- 
ing a cry that was inarticulate and more like 
the cry of an animal, John Thornton sprang 
upon the man who wielded the club. Hal was 
hurled backward, as though struck by a falling 
tree. Mercedes screamed. Charles looked on 
wistfully, wiped his watery eyes, but did not 
get up because of his stiffness. 

John Thornton stood over Buck, struggling 
to control himself, too convulsed with rage to 

" If you strike that dog again. Til kill you," 
he at last managed to say in a choking 

"It's my dog,** Hal replied, raping the 
blood from his mouth as he came back. " Get 
out of my way, or 1*11 fix you. Vm going to 

Thornton stood between him and Buck, and 
evinced no intention of getting out of the 
way. Hal drew his long hunting-knife. 
Mercedes screamed, cried, laughed, and mani- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Tested the chaotic abandonment of hysteria. 
Thornton rapped HaFs knuckles with the axe- 
handle, knocking the knife to the ground. He 
rapped his knuckles again as he tried to pick 
it up. Then he stooped, picked it up him- 
self, and with two strokes cut Buck's traces. 

Hal had no fight left in him. Besides, his 
hands were full with his sister, or his arms, 
rather; while Buck was too near dead to be 
of further use in hauling the sled. A few 
minutes later they pulled out from the bank 
and down the river. Buck heard them go and 
raised his head to see. Pike was leading, 
Sol-leks was at the wheel, and between were 
Joe and Teek. They were limping and stag- 
gering. Mercedes was riding the loaded sled. 
Hal guided at the gee-pole, and Charles stum- 
bled along in the rear. 

As Buck watched them, Thornton knelt 
beside him and with rough, kindly hands 
searched for broken bones. By the time his 
search had disclosed nothing more than many 
bruises and a state of terrible starvation, the 
sled was a quarter of a mile away. Dog and 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

'John Thornton and Buck looked &t each other.'* 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 


man watched it crawling along over the icco 
Suddenly^ they saw its back end drop down^^ 
as into a rut^ and the gee-pole, with Hal cling* 
ing to it, jerk into the air. Mercedes's scream 
came to their ears. They saw Charles turn 
and make one step to run back, and then a 
whole section of ice give way and dogs and 
humans disappear. A yawning hole was all 
that was to be seen. The bottom had dropped 
out of the trail. 

John Thornton and Buck looked at each 

•'You poor devil," s^dd John Thornton^, 
md Buck licked his hand. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


For the Love of a Man 

WHEN John Thornton froze his feet 
in the previous December, his part- 
ners had made him comfortable and 
left him to g6t well, going on themselves up 
the river to get out a raft of saw-logs for 
Dawson. He was still limping slightly at 
the time he rescued Buck, but with the con- 
tinued warm weather even the slight limp left 
him. And here, lying by the river bank 
through the long spring days, watching the run- 
ning water, listening lazily to the songs of birds 
and the hum of nature. Buck slowly won back 
his strength. 

A rest comes very good after one has 
travelled three thousand miles, and it must 
be confessed that Buck waxed lazy as his 
wounds healed, his muscles swelled out, and 

L l6l 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


the flesh came back. to cover his bones. For 
that matter, they were all loafing, — Buck, 
John Thornton, and Skeet and Nig, — waiting 
for the raft to come that was to carry them 
down to Dawson. Skeet was a little Irish 
setter who early made friends with Buck, who, 
in a dying condition, was unable to resent her 
first advances. She had the doctor trait which 
some dogs possess ; and as a mother cat washes 
her kittens, so she washed and cleansed Buck's 
wounds. Regularly, each morning after he 
had finished his breakfast, she performed her 
self-appointed task, till he came to look for her 
ministrations as much as he did for Thorn* 
ton's. Nig, equally friendly, though less 
demonstrative, was a huge black dog, half 
bloodhound and half deerhound, with eyes 
that laughed and a boundless good nature. 

To Buck's surprise these dogs manifested 
no jealousy toward him. They seemed to 
share the kindliness and largeness of John 
Thornton. As Buck grew stronger they 
enticed him into all sorts of ridiculous games, 
in which Thornton himself could not forbear 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


to join ; and in this &shion Buck romped 
through his convalescence and into a new 
existence. Love, genuine passionate love, was 
his for the first time. This he had never 
experienced at Judge Miller's down in the 
sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley. With the 
Judge's sons^ hunting and tramping, it had 
been a workfng partnership ; with the Judge's 
grandsons, a sort of pompous guardianship; 
and with the Judge himself, a stately and dig- 
nified friendship. But love that was feverish 
and burning, that was adoration, that was mad- 
ness, it had taken John Thornton to arouse. 

This man had saved his life, which was 
something; but, fiirther, he was the ideal 
master. Other men saw to the welfare of 
their dogs from a sense of duty and business 
expediency ; he saw to the welfare of his as if. 
they were his own children, because he could 
not help it. And he saw fiirther. He never 
forgot a kindly greeting or a cheering word, 
and to sit down for a long talk with them 
(" gas " he called it) was as much his delight 
as theirs. He had a way of taking Buck's 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


head roughly between his hands, and resting 
his own head upon Buck's, of shaking him 
back and forth, the while calling him ill names 
that to Buck were love names. Buck knew no 
greater joy than that rough embrace and the 
sound of murmured oaths, and at each jerk 
back and forth it seemed that his heart would 
be shaken out of his body so great was its 
ecstasy. And when, released, he sprang to his 
feet, his mouth laughing, his eyes eloquent, his 
throat vibrant with unuttered sound, and in 
that fashion remained without movement, John 
Thornton would reverently excldm, **God! 
you can all but speak ! " 

Buck had a trick of love expression that was 
akin to hurt He would often seize Thornton's 
hand in his mouth and close so fiercely that 
the flesh bore the impress of his teeth for some 
time afterward. And as Buck understood the 
oaths to be love words, so the man understood 
this feigned bite for a caress. 

For the most part, however. Buck's love 
was expressed in adoration. While he went 
wild with happiness when Thornton touched 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


him or spoke to him^ he did not seek these 
tokens. Unlike Skeet^ who was wont tc 
shove her nose under Thornton's hand and 
nudge and nudge till petted, or Nig, who 
would stalk up and rest his great head on 
Thornton's knee. Buck was content to adore 
at a distance. He would lie by the hour, 
eager, alert, at Thornton's feet, looking up 
into his &ce, dwelling upon it, studying it, 
following with keenest interest each fleeting 
expression, every movement or change of fea- 
ture. Or, as chance might have it, he would 
lie farther away, to the side or rear, watching 
the outlines of the man and the occasional 
movements of his body. And often, such was 
the communion in which they lived, the 
strength of Buck's gaze would draw John 
Thornton's head around, and he would return 
the gaze, without speech, his heart shining out 
of his eyes as Buck's heart shone out 

For a long time after his rescue. Buck ^d 
not like Thornton to get out of his sight 
Prom the moment he left the tent to when he 
entered it again. Buck would follow at his 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


heels. His transient masters since he had 
come into the Northland had bred in him a 
fear that no master could be permanent. He 
Was afnud that Thornton would pass out of his 
life as Perrault and Fran9oi8 and the Scotch 
half-breed had passed out Even in the night, 
in his dreams, he was haunted by this fean 
At such times he would shake off sleep and 
creep through the chill to the flap of the tent, 
where he would stand and listen to the sound 
of his master's breathing. 

But in spite of this great love he bore John 
Thornton, which seemed to bespeak the soft 
civilizing influence, the strain of the primitive, 
which the Northland had aroused in him, 
remained alive and active. Faithfulness and 
devotion, things born of fire and roof, were his j 
yet he retained his wlldness and wiliness. He 
was a thing of the wild, come in from the wild 
to sit by John Thornton's fire, rather than a 
dog of the sof^ Southland stamped with the 
marks of generations of civilization. Because 
of his very great love, he could not steal from 
this man, but from any other man, in any 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


other camp) he did not hesitate an instant; 
while the cunning with which he stole enabled 
him to escape detection. 

His face and body were scored by the teeth 
of many dogs, and he fought as fiercely as ever 
and more shrewdly. Skeet and Nig were too 
good-natured for quarrelling, — besides, they 
belonged to John Thornton; but the strange 
dog, no matter what the breed or valor, swiftly 
acknowledged Buck*s supremacy or found him- 
self struggling for life with a terrible antagonist 
And Buck was merciless. He had learned 
well the law of club and fang, and he never 
forewent an advantage or drew back from « 
foe he had started on the way to Death. He 
had lessoned from Spitz, and from the chief 
fighting dogs of the police and mail, and knew 
there was no middle course. He must master 
or be mastered; while to show mercy was a weak« 
ness. Mercy did not exist in the primordial life. 
It was misunderstood for fear, and such misun- 
derstandings made for death. Kill or be killed^ 
eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate^ 
down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed* 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


He was older than the days he had seen 
and the breaths he had drawn. He linked the 
past with the present^ and the eternity behind 
him throbbed through him in a mighty rhythm 
to which he swayed as the tides and seasons 
swayed. He sat by John Thornton's fire, a 
broad-breasted dog, white-fanged and long- 
furred ; but behind him were the shades of all 
manner of dogs, half-wolves and wild wolves, 
urgent and prompting, tasting the savor of the 
meat he ate, thirsting for the water he drank, 
scenting the wind with him, listening with him 
and telling him the sounds made by the wild 
Hfe in the forest, dictating his moods, directing 
his actions, lying down to sleep with him when 
he lay down, and dreaming with him and be-^ 
yond him and becoming themselves th^ stuff 
of his dreams. 

So peremptorily did these shades beckon 
Mm, that each day mankind and the claims of 
mankind slipped farther from him. Deep in 
the forest a call was sounding, and as often as 
he heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and 
luring, he felt compelled to turn his back upon 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 





Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


the fire and the beaten earth around it, and to 
plunge into the forest, and on and on, he knew 
not where or why ; nor did he wonder where or 
why, the call sounding imperiously, deep in 
the forest. But as often as he gained the soft 
unbroken earth and the green shade, the love 
for John Thornton drew him back to the fire 

Thornton alone held him. The rest of 
mankind was as nothing. Chance travellers 
might praise or pet him ; but he was cold under 
it all, and from a too demonstrative man he 
would get up and walk away. When Thorn- 
ton*s partners, Hans and Pete, arrived on the 
long-expected raft. Buck refused to notice 
them till he learned they were close to Thorn- 
ton; after that he tolerated them in a passive 
sort of way, accepting favors from them as 
though he favored them by accepting. They 
were of the same large type as Thornton, liv- 
ing close to the earth, thinking simply and 
seeing clearly; and ere they swung the raft 
into the big eddy by the saw-mill at Dawson^ 
they understood Buck and his ways, and did 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


not insist upon an intimacy such as obtained 
with Skeet and Nig. 

For Thornton, however, his love, seemed to 
grow and grow. He, alone among men, could 
put a pack upo^ Buck's back in the summer 
travelling. Nothing was too great for Buck to 
do, when Thornton commanded.. One day 
(they had grub-staked themselves from the 
proceeds of the raft and left Dawson for the 
head-waters of the Tanana) the men and dogs 
were sitting on the crest of a cliff which fell 
away, straight down, to naked bed-rock three 
hundred feet below. John Thornton was sit- 
ting near the edge. Buck at his shoulder. A 
thoughtless whim seized Thornton, and he 
drew the attention of Hans and Pete to the 
experiment he had in mind. ** Jump, Buck ! *' 
he commanded, sweeping his arm out and over 
the chasm. The next instant he was grappling 
with Buck on the extreme edge, while Hans 
and Pete were dragging them back into safety. 

" It's uncanny," Pete said, after it was over 
and they had caught their speech. 

Thornton shook his head. **No, it is 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


splendid, and it is terrible, too. Do you 
know, it sometimes makes me afraid/* 

" Fm not hankering to be the man that lays 
hands on you while he's around,** Pete an- 
nounced conclusively, nodding his head toward 

" Py Jingo ! ** was Hans*8 contribution, 
" Not minesclf either.** 

It was at Circle City, ere the year was out, 
that Pete's apprehensions were realized. 
"Black** Burton, a man evil -tempered* and 
malicious, had been picking a quarrel with a 
tenderfoot at the bar, when Thornton stepped 
good-naturedly between. Buck, as was his 
custom, was lying in a corner, head on paws, 
watching his master*8 every action. Burton 
struck out, without warning, strdght from 
the shoulder. Thornton was sent spinning^, 
and saved himself from falling only by clutch- 
ing the rail of the bar. 

Those who were looking on heard what was 
neither bark nor yelp, but a something which 
is best described as a roar, and they saw Buck*8 
body rise up in the air as he left the floor for 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Burton's throat The man saved his life by 
instinctively throwing out his arm, but was 
hurled backward to the floor with Buck on top 
of him. Buck loosed his teeth from the flesh 
of the arm and drove in again for the throat. 
This time the man succeeded only in partly 
blocking, and his throat was torn open. Then 
the crowd was upon Buck, and he was driven 
off; but while a surgeon checked the bleeding, 
he prowled up and down, growling furiously, 
attempting to rush in, and being forced back by 
an array of hostile clubs. A, "miners* meet- 
ing,** called on the spot, decided that the dog 
had suflident provocation, and Buck was dis- 
charged. But his reputation was made, and 
from that day his name spread through every 
camp in Alaska. 

Later on, in the fall of the year, he saved 
John Thornton's life in quite another &shion. 
The three partners were lining a long and 
narrow poling-boat down a bad stretch of 
rapids on the Forty-Mile Creek. Hans and 
Pete moved along the bank, snubbing with a 
thin Manila rope from tree to tree» while 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Thornton remained in the boat, helping its 
descent by means of a pole, and shouting 
directions to the shore. Buck, on the bank, 
worried and anxious, kept abreast of the boat, 
his eyes never off his master. 

At a particularly bad spot, where a ledg^ of 
barely submerged rocks jutted out into the 
river, Hans cast off the rope, and, while 
Thornton poled the boat out into the stream, 
ran down the bank with the end in his hand 
to snub the boat when it had cleared the ledge. 
This it did, and was flying down-stream in a 
current as swift as a mill-race, when Hans 
checked it with the rope and checked too sud- 
denly. The boat flirted over and snubbed in 
to the bank bottom up, while Thornton, flung 
sheer out of it, was carried down -stream toward 
the worst part of the rapids, a stretch of wild 
water in which no swimmer could live. 

Buck had sprung in on the instant ; and at 
the end of three hundred yards, amid a mad 
swirl of water, he overhauled Thornton. When 
he felt him grasp his tail. Buck headed for the 
bank, swimming with all his splendid strength. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


But the progress shoreward was slow; the 
progress down-stream amazingly rapid From 
below came the fatal roaring where the wild 
current went wilder and was rent in shreds and 
spray by the rocks which thrust through like 
the teeth of an enormous comb. The suck 
of the water as it took the beginning of the 
last steep pitch was frightful, and Thornton 
knew that the shore was impossible. He 
scraped furiously over a rock, bruised across a 
second, and struck a third with crushing force. 
He clutched its slippery top with both hands, 
releasing Buck, and above the roar of the 
churning water shouted : " Go, Buck ! Go I ** 
Buck could not hold hb own, and swept 
on down-stream, struggling desperately, but 
unable to win back. When he heard Thorn- 
ton's command repeated, he partly reared out 
of the water, throwing his head high, as 
though for a last look, then turned obediently 
toward the bank. He swam powerfully and 
was dragged ashore by Pete and Hans at the 
very point where summing ceased to be pos- 
mble and destruction began. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


They knew that the time a man could cling 
to a slippery rock in the face of that driving 
current was a matter of minutes, and they ran 
as fast as they could up the bank to a point 
lar above where Thornton was hanging on. 
They attached the line with which they had 
been snubbing the boat to Buck's neck and 
shoulders, being careful that it should neither 
strangle him nor impede his swimming, and 
launched him into the stream. He struck out 
boldly, but not straight enough into the 
stream. He discovered the mistake too late, 
when Thornton was abreast of him and a bare 
half<lozen strokes away while he was being 
carried helplessly past 

Hans promptly snubbed with the rope, as 
though Buck were a boat. The rope thus 
tightening on him in the sweep of the current, 
he was jerked under the surface, and under the 
surface he remained till his body struck against 
the bank and he was hauled out. He was half 
drowned, and Hans and Pete threw them- 
selves upon him, pounding the breath into 
him and the water out of him. He staggered 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


to his feet and fell down. The faint sound of 
Thornton's voice came to them, and though 
they could not make out the words of it, they 
knew that he was in his extremity. His mas- 
ter's voice acted on Buck like an electric shock. 
He sprang to his feet and ran up the bank 
ahead of the men to the point of his previous 

Again the rope was attached and he was 
launched, and again he struck out, but this 
time straight into the stream. He had mis- 
calculated once, but he would not be guilty of 
it a second time. Hans paid out the rope, 
permitting no slack, while Pete kept it clear 
of coils. Buck held on till he was on a line 
straight above Thornton; then he turned, 
. and with the speed of an express train headed 
down upon him. Thornton saw him com- 
ing, and, as Buck struck him like a battering 
ram, with the whole force of the current be- 
hind him, he reached up and closed with both 
arms around the shaggy neck. Hans snubbed 
the rope around the tree, and Buck and 
Thornton were jerked under the water. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Strangling, suffocating, sometimes one upper- 
most and sometimes the other^ dragging over 
the jagged bottom, smashing against rocks and 
snags, they veered in to the bank. 

Thornton came to, belly downward and 
being violently propelled back and forth across 
a drift log by Hans and Pete. His first glance 
was for Buck, over whose limp and apparently 
lifeless body Nig was setting up a howl, while 
Skeet was licking the wet &ce and closed eyes. 
Thornton was himself bruised and battered, 
and he went carefully over Buck's bo ly, when 
he had been brought around, finding three 
broken ribs. 

**That settles it,** he announced. **We 
camp right here." And camp they did, till 
Buck's ribs knitted and he was able to traveL 

That winter, at Dawson, Buck performed 
another exploit, not so heroic, perhaps, but 
one that put his name many notches iiigher 
on the totem-pole of Alaskan fame. This 
exploit was particularly gratifying to the three 
men; for they stood in need of the outfit 
which it furnished, and were enabled to make 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


% long-desired trip into the virgin East, where 
miners had not yet appeared. It was brought 
about by a conversation in the Eldorado 
Saloon, in which men waxed boastful of their 
favorite dogg. Buck, because of his record, 
was the target foir these men, and Thornton 
was driven stoutly to defend him. At the 
end of half an hour one man stated that his 
dog could start a sled with five hundred 
pounds and walk off with it; a second 
bragged six hundred for hb dog ; and a third, 
seven hundred. 

"Pooh I pooh!" said John Thornton; 
^^ Buck can start a thousand pounds." 

** And break it out ? and walk off with it 
for a hundred yards ? ** demanded Matthewson, 
a Bonanza King, he of the seven hundred 

" And break it out, and walk off with it 
for u hundred yards," John Thornton said 

"Well," Matthewson said, slowly and de- 
liberately, so that all could hear, " I've got a 
thousand dollars that says he can't. And 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


there it is.'^ So saying, he slammed a sack 
of gold dust of the size of a bologna sausage 
doivn upon the bar. 

Nobody spoke. Thornton's bluff, if bluff 
it was, had been called. He could feel a flush 
of warm blood creeping up his face. His 
tongue had tricked him. He did not know 
whether Buck could start a thousand pounds. 
Half a ton ! The enormousness of it appalled 
him. He had great faith in Buck's strength 
and had often thought him capable of starting 
such a load ; but never, as now, had he faced 
the possibility of it, the eyes of a dozen men 
fixed upon him, silent and waiting. Further, 
he had no thousand dollars; nor had Hans 
or Pete. 

" IVe got a sled standing outside now, with 
twenty fifty-pound sacks of flour on it," 
Matthewson went on with brutal directness; 
^* so don't let that hinder you." 

Thornton did not reply. He did not know 
what to say. He glanced from face to fkct 
m the absent way of a man who has lost the 
power of thought and is seeking somewhere 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


to find the thing that will start it going agaia, 
The face of Jim O'Brien^ a Mastodon King 
and old-time comrade^ caught his eyes. It 
was as a cue to him^ seeming to rouse him 
to do what he would never have dreamed of 

^^ Can you lend me a thousand ? " he asked, 
abnost in a whisper. 

"Sure," answered O'Brien, thumping down 
a plethoric sack by the side of Matthewson's. 
""^ Though it's little faith Fm having, John, 
that the beast can do the trick.** 

The Eldorado emptied its occupants into 
the street to see the test The tables were 
deserted, and the dealers and gamekeepers 
came forth to see the outcome of the wager 
and to lay odds. Several hundred men, 
jfiured and mittened, banked around the sled 
within easy distance. Matthewson's sled, 
loaded with a thousand pounds of flour, had 
been standing for a couple of hours, and in 
ithe intense cold (it was sixty below zero) the 
mnners had frozen hst to the hard-packed 
mow. Men offered odds of two to one that 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Buck could not budge the sled A quibble 
arose concerning the phrase ^* break out.*' 
O'Brien contended it was Thornton's privilege 
to knock the runners loose, leaving Buck to 
" break it out " from a dead standstill. Mat- 
thewson insisted that the phrase included 
breaking the runners fi-om the frozen grip of 
the snow. A majority of the men who had 
witnessed the making of the bet decided in 
his favor, whereat the odds went up tx> three 
to one against Buck. 

There were no takers. Not a man believed 
him capable of the feat. Thornton had been 
hurried into the wager, heavy with doubt; 
and now that he looked at the sled itself, the 
concrete fact, with the regular team of ten 
dogs curled up in the snow before it, the 
more impossible the task appeared. Mat- 
thewson waxed jubilant 

"Three to one!" he proclaimed. "TU 
lay you another thousand at that figure, 
Thornton. What d'ye say ? " 

Thornton's doubt was strong in his free, 
but his fighting spirit was aroused-— die 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


idng sfnrit that soars above odds^ fiub to 
recognize the impossibley and b deaf to all 
iave the clamor for battle. He called Ham 
and Pete to him. Their sacks were slim^ and 
with hb own the three partners could rake 
together only two hundred dollars. In the 
sbb of thdr fortunes^ this sum was their total 
oipital ; yet they laid it unhesitatingly against 
Matthewson's six hundred. 

The team of ten dogs was unhitched, and 
Buck, with his own harness, was put into 
the sled. He had caught the contagion of 
die excitement, and he felt that in some way 
iie must do a great thing for John Thornton. 
Murmurs of admiration at his splendid ap^ 
pearance went up. He was in perfect condi* 
tion, without an ounce of superfluous flesh, 
and the one hundred and fifty pounds that 
he weighed were so many pounds of grit and 
Tirility. His fiirry coat shone with the sheen 
of silk. Down the neck and across the 
shoulders, his mane, in repose as it was, 
iialf bristled and seemed to lift with every 
movement, as though excess of v^r made 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


sach particular hair alive and active. The 
great breast and heavy fore legs were no more 
than in proportion with the rest of the body, 
where the muscles showed in tight rolls under- 
neath the skin. Men felt these muscles and 
proclaimed them hard as iron> and the odds 
went down to two to one« 

'^ Gad, sir I Gad, sir 1 "' stuttered a member 
of the latest dynasty, a king of the Skookum 
BencheSo ^I ofier you eight hundred for 
him, sir, before the test, sir; eight hundred 
just as he stands." 

Thornton shook his head and stepped to 
Buck's side. 

** You must stand oflF from him," Matthew^ 
son protested ^^Free play and plenty of 

The crowd fell silent ; only could be heard 
the voices of the gamblers Vsunly oflfering two 
to one. Everybody acknowledged Buck a 
magnificent animal, but twenty fifty-pound 
sacks of flour bulked too large in their eyes 
for them to loosen their pouch-strings. 

Thornton knelt down by Buck's side. He 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


took his head in hb two hands and rested 
cheek on cheek. He did not playfully shake 
him^ as was his wont^ or murmur soft love 
curses; but he whispered in his ear. ^*As 
you love me. Buck. As you love me," Was 
what he whispered. Buck whmed with sup- 
pressed eagerness. 

The crowd was watching curiously. The 
tSzxT was growing mysterious. It seemed like 
a conjuration. As Thornton got to his feet. 
Buck seized his mittened hand between his 
jaws, pressing in with his teeth and releasing 
slowly, half-reluctantly. It was the answer, in 
terms, not of speech, but of love. Thornton 
stepped well back. 

** Now, Buck," he said. 

Buck tightened the traces, then slacked 
them for a matter of several inches. It was 
the way he had learned. 

" Gee I ** Thornton's voice rang out, sharp 
in the tense silence. 

Buck swung to the right, ending the move« 
ment in a plunge that took up the slack and 
with a sodden jerk arrested his one hundred 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and fifty pounds. The load quivered^ and 
from under the runners arose a crisp cracklingo 

*^ Haw ! " Thornton commanded. 

Buck duplicated the manoBUvre» this dme to 
the left. The crackling turned into a snap<- 
ping, the sled pivoting and the runners slip- 
ping and gradng several inches to the sideo 
The sled was broken out. Men were hold- 
ing their breaths, intensely unconscious of the 

"Now, MUSH!" 

Thornton's command cracked out like a 
pistol-shot Buck threw himself forward, 
tightening the traces with a jarring lunge« 
Hb whole body was gathered compactly to- 
gether in the tremendous effort, the muscles 
writhing and knotting like live things under 
the silky fiir. His great chest was low to the 
ground, his head forward and down, while his 
feet were flying like mad, the claws scarring 
the hard-packed snow in parallel grooveSo 
The sled swayed and trembled, half-started 
forward. One of hb feet slipped, and one 
man groaned aloud Then the sled lurched 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

h88 the call of THE WILD 

%head in what appeared a rapid succession of 
jerksy though it never really came to a dead 
stop again . . • half an inch ... an inch . «, . 
two inches. . • . The jerks perceptibly di- 
minished; as the sled gained momentum^ he 
caught them up» till it was moving steadily 

Men gasped and b^^ to breathe again, 
unaware that for a moment they had ceased 
to breathe. Thornton was running behind^ 
encouraging Buck with short, cheery wordsa 
The distance had been measured off, and as he 
neared the pile of firewood which marked the 
end of the hundred yards, a cheer began to 
grow and grow, which burst into a roar as he 
passed the firewood and halted at command. 
Every man was tearing himself loose, even 
Matthewson. Hats and mittens were fiying 
in the sur. Men were shaking hands, it did 
not matter with whom, and bubbling over in 
a general incoherent babel. 

But Thornton fell on his knees beside Bucko 
Head was against head, and he was shaking 
him back and forth. Those who hurried up 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


heard him cursing Buck^ and he cursed him 
long and fervendy, and softly and lovingly. 

**Gad, sir! Gad, sirl" spluttered the 
Skookum Bench king. ^^FlI give you a 
thousand for him, ^r, a thousand, sir — twelve 
hundred, sir." 

Thornton rose to his feet His eyes were 
wet. The tears were streaming frankly down 
his cheeks. ^ Sir," he said to the Skookum 
Bench king, **no, siro You can go to hell, 
sir. It's the best I can do for you, sir.** 

Buck seized Thornton's hand in his teeth. 
Thornton shook him back and forth. As 
though animated by a common impulse, the 
onlookers drew back to a respectful distance ; 
nor were they again indiscreet enough to 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


The Sounding of the Call 

WHEN Buck earned sixteen hundred 
dollars in five minutes for John 
Thornton^ he made it possible for 
his master to pay off certain debts and to 
journey with his partners into the East after 
a fabled lost mine, the history of which was 
as old as the history of the country* Many 
men had sought it; few had found it; and 
more than a few there were who had never re- 
turned from the quest This lost mine was 
steeped in tragedy and shrouded in mystery. 
No one knew of the first man. The oldest 
tradition stopped before it got back to him. 
From the beginning there had been an ancient 
and ramshackle cabin. Dying men had sworn 
to it, and to the mine the site of which it 
marked, clinching their testimony with nuggets 
N 193 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


that were unlike any known grade of gold id 
the Northland 

But no living man had looted this treasure 
house, and the dead were dead; wherefore 
John Thornton and Pete and Hans, with 
Buck and half a dozen other dogs, faced into 
the East on an unknown trail to achieve where 
men and dogs as good as themselves had 
^led« They sledded seventy miles up the 
Yukon, swung to the left into the Stewart 
River, passed the Mayo and the McQuestion, 
and held on until the Stew^ itself became 
a streamlet^ threading the upstanding peaks 
which marked the backbone of the conti- 

John Thornton asked little of man or 
nature* He was unafrdd of the wild. With 
a handful of salt and a rifle he could plunge 
into the wilderness and fare wherever he 
pleased and as long as he pleased. Being 
in no haste, Indian fashion, he hunted 
his dinner in the course of the day's 
travel; and if he failed to find it, like the 
Tfldian» he kept on travelling, secure in the 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


knowledge that sooner or later he would come 
to it S09 on this great journey into the 
£ast9 straight meat was the bill of fare> am- 
munition and tools principally made up the 
"^ load on the sled^ and the time-card was drawn 
upon the limidess future. 

To Buck it was boundless delight> this 
hunting, fishings and indefinite wandering 
through strange places. For weeks at a time 
they would hold on steadily, day after day; 
and for weeks upon end they would <amp, 
here and there, the dogs loafing and the 
men burning holes through frozen muck and 
gravel and washing countless pans of dirt by 
the heat of the fire. Sometimes they went 
hungry, sometimes they feasted riotously, all 
according to the abundance of game and the 
fortune of hundng. Summer arrived, and 
dogs and men packed on their backs, rafted 
across blue mountain lakes, and descended or 
ascended unknown rivers in slender boats 
whipsawed from the standing forest 

The months came and went, and back and 
forth tbey tsnstsid through the uncharted vast* 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


ness, where no men were and yet where men 
bad been if the Lost Cabin were true. They 
went across divides in summer blizzards, 
shivered under the midnight sun on naked 
mountains between the timber line and the 
eternal snows, dropped into summer valleys 
amid swarming gnats and flies, and in the 
shadows of glaciers picked strawberries and 
flowers as ripe and fair as any the Southland 
could boast. In the fall of the year they 

. penetrated a weird lake country, sad and 
silent, where wild-fowl had been^ but where 
then there was no life nor sign of life-^ 
only the blowing of chill winds, the forming 
of ice in sheltered places, and the melancholy 
rippling of waves on lonely beaches. 

And through another winter they wandered 
on the obliterated trails of men who had gone 
before. Once, they came upon a path blazed 

, through the forest, an ancient path, and the 
Lost Cabin seemed very near. But the path 
began nowhere and ended nowhere, and it 
remained mystery, as the man who made it 
and the reason he made it remained mystery 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Another time they chanced upon the time- 
graven wreckage of a hunting lodge, and amid 
the shreds of rotted blankets John Thornton 
found a long-barrelled flint-lock. He knew 
it for a Hudson Bay Company gun of the 
young days in the Northwest, when such a 
gun was worth its height in beaver skins 
packed flat And that was all — no hint as to 
the man who in an early day had reared the 
lodge and left the gun among the blankets. 

Spring came on once more, and at the end 
of all their wandering they found, not the 
Lost Cabin, but a shallow placer in a broad 
valley where the gold showed like yellow 
butter across the bottom of the washing-pan. 
They sought no farther. Each day they worked 
earned them thousands of dollars in clean dust 
and nuggets, and they worked every day. 
The gold was sacked in moose-hide bags, fifty 
pounds tc the bag, and piled like so much fire- 
wood outside the spruce-bough lodge. Like 
giants they toiled, days flashing on the heels 
of days like dreams as they heaped the treas- 
ure up. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


There was nothing for the dogs to dO| 
tave the hauling in of meat now and again 
that Thornton killed^ and Buck spent long 
hours musing by the fire. The vision of the 
short-legged hdry man came to him more 
frequently^ now that there was little work to 
be done ; and often» blinking by the fire. Buck 
wandered with him in that other world which 
he remembered. 

The salient thing of this other world seemed 
fear. When he watched the hairy man sleep- 
ing by the fire^ head between his knees and 
hands clasped abovci Buck saw that he slept 
restlessly^ with many starts and awakenings, 
at which times he would peer fearfully into 
the darkness and fling more wood upon the 
fire. Did they walk by the beach of a sea, 
where the hdry man gathered shell-fish and 
ate them as he gathered, it was with eyes 
that roved everywhere for hidden danger and 
with legs prepared to run like the wind at 
its first appearance. Through the forest they 
crept noiselessly. Buck at the hdry man's 
iCfJs ; and they were alert and vig^lantt tho 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


pair of them» ears twitching and moving and 
nostrib quivering, for the man heard and 
smelled as keenly as Buck. The hairy man 
could spring up into the trees and travel 
ahead as fast as on the groundi swinging 
by the arms from limb to limbi sometimes 
a dozen feet apart^ letting go and catching, 
never falling, never missing his grip. In fact, 
he seemed as much at home among the trees 
as on the ground; and Buck had memories 
of nights of ^gil spent beneath trees wherein 
the hairy man roosted, holding on tightly as 
he slept 

And closely akin to the visions of the hsury 
man was the call still sounding in the depths 
of the forest. It filled him with a great unrest 
and strange desires. It caused him to feel 
a vague, sweet gladness, and he was iware of 
wild yearnings and stirrings for he knew not 
what. Sometimes he pursued the call into 
the forest, looking for it as though it were 
a tangible thing, barking softly or defiantly, 
as the mood might dictate. He would thrust 
his nose intx> the cool wood moasi or into 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


the black 8(^1 where long grasses grew, and 
snort with joy at the fat earth smells ; or he 
would crouch for hours, as if in concealment, 
behind fungus-covered trunks of fallen trees, 
wide-eyed and wide-eared to all that moved 
and sounded about him. It might be, lying 
thus, that he hoped to surprise thb call he 
could not understand. But he did not know 
why he did these various things. He was 
impelled to do them, and did not reason about 
them at all. 

Irresistible impulses seized him. He would 
be lying in camp, dozing lazily in the heat 
of the day, when suddenly his head would 
lift and his ears cock up, intent and listening, 
and he would spring to his feet and dash away, 
and on and on, for hours, through the forest 
aisles and across the open spaces where the 
niggerheads bunched. He loved to run down 
dry watcrcouraes, and to creep and spy upon 
the bird life in the woods. For a day at a 
time he would lie in the underbrush where 
he could watch the partridges drumming and 
strutting up and down. But especially he 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 


loved to run in the dim twilight of the sum- 
mer midnights, listening to the subdued and 
sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs 
and sounds as man may read a book, and 
seeking for the mysterious something that 
called — called, waking or sleeping, at all 
times, for him to come.. 

One night he sprang from sleep with a start, 
eager-eyed, nostrils quivering and scenting, his 
mane bristling in recurrent waves. From the 
forest came the call (or one note of it, for the 
call was many noted), distinct and definite as 
never before, — a long-drawn howl, like, yet 
unlike, any noise made by husky dog. And 
he knew it, in the old familiar way, as a sound 
heard before. He sprang through the sleeping 
camp and in swift silence dashed through the 
woods. As he drew closer to the cry he went 
more slowly, with caution in every movement, 
till he came to an open place among the trees, 
and looking out saw, erect on haunches, with 
nose pointed to the sky, a long, lean, timber 

He had made no noise, yet it ceased from 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Its howling and tried to sense his presence. 
Buck stalked into the open, half crouching^ 
body gathered compactly together^ tail straight 
and stiffs feet falling with unwonted carec 
Every movement advertised commingled threat- 
ening and overture of friendliness. It was the 
menacing truce that marks the meeting of wild 
beasts that prey. But the wolf fled at sight 
of him. He followed, with wild leapings, in a 
frenzy to overtake. He ran him into a blind 
channel, in the bed of the creek, where a tim- 
ber jam barred the way. The wolf whirled 
about, pivoting on his hind legs after the fash- 
ion of Joe and of all cornered husky dogs, 
snarling and bristling, clipping his teeth to- 
gether in a continuous and rapid succession 
of snaps. 

Buck did not attack, but drded him about 
and hedged him in with friendly advances. 
The wolf was suspicious and afraid ; for Buck 
made three of him in weight, while his head 
barely reached Buck's shoulder. Watching 
his chance, he darted away, and the chase was 
resumed. Time and again he was cornered. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and the thing repeated, though he was in poor 
condition, or Buck could not so easily have 
overtaken him. He would run till Buck's 
head was even with his flank, when he would 
whirl around at bay, only to dash away again 
at the first opportunity. 

But in the end Buck's pertinacity was re- 
warded ; for the wolf, finding that no harm was 
intended, finally sniflFed noses with him. Then 
they became friendly, and played about in the 
nervous, half-coy way with which fierce beasts 
belie their fierceness. After some time of this 
the wolf started oflFat an easy lope in a manner 
that plainly showed he was going somewhere. 
He made it clear to Buck that he was to come, 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and they ran side by side through the sombre 
twilight, straight up the creek bed, into the 
gorge from which it issued, and across the 
bleak divide where it took its rise. 

On the opposite slope of the watershed 
they came down into a level country where 
were great stretches of forest and many 
streams, and through these great stretches 
they ran steadily, hour after hour, the sun 
rising higher and the day growing warmer. 
Buck was wildly glad. He knew he was at 
last answering the call, running by the side of 
his wood brother toward the place from where 
the call surely came. Old memories were 
coming upon him fast, and he was stirring to 
them as of old he stirred to the realities of 
which they were the shadows. He had done 
this thing before, somewhere in that other and 
dimly remembered world, and he was doing it 
again, now, running free in the open, the un- 
packed earth underfoot, the wide sky over- 

They stopped by a running stream to drink, 
and, stopping. Buck remembered John Thorn- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


♦on. He sat down. The wolf started on 
toward the place from where the call surely 
came» then returned to him^ sniffing noses and 
making actions as though to encourage him. 
But Buck turned about and started slowly on 
the back track. For the better part of an 
hour the wild brother ran by his side, whining 
softly. Then he sat down, pointed his nose 
upward, and howled. It was a mournful howl, 
and as Buck held steadily on his way he heard 
it grow faint and Winter until it was lost in the 

John Thornton was eating dinner when 
Buck dashed into camp and sprang upon him 
in a frenzy of affection, overturning him, 
scrambling upon him, licking his face, biting 
his hand — ** playing the general tom-fool,** as 
John Thornton characterized it, the while he 
shook Buck back and forth and cursed him 

For two days and nights Buck never left 
camp, never let Thornton out of his sight 
He followed him about at his work, watched 
him while he ate, saw him into his blankets at 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


night and out of them in the morning. But 
after two days the call in the forest began to 
sound more imperiously than ever. Buck's 
restlessness came back on him, and he was 
haunted by recollections of the wild brother, 
and of the smiling land beyond the divide and 
the run side by side through the wide forest 
stretches. Once again he took to wandering 
in the woods, but the wild brother came no 
more; and though he listened through long 
vigils, the mournful howl was never raised. 

He began to sleep out at night, staying 
away from camp for days at a time ; and once 
he crossed the divide at the head of the creek 
and went down into the land of timber and 
streams. There he wandered for a week, 
seeking vsunly for fresh sign of the wild 
brother, killing his meat as he travelled and 
travelling with the long, easy lope th?t seems 
never to tire. He fished for salmon in a 
broad stream that emptied somewhere into the 
sea, and by this stream he killed a large black 
bear, blinded by the mosquitoes while likewise 
fishing, and raging through tlie forejt helpless 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and terrible. Even so, it was a hard fight, and 
it aroused the last latent remnants of Buck's 
ferocity. And two days later, when he re- 
turned to his kill and found a dozen wolver- 
enes quarrelling over the spoil, he scattered 
them like chaff; and those that fled left two 
behind who would quarrel no more. 

The blood-longing became stronger than 
ever before. He was a killer, a thing that 
preyed, living on the things that lived, un- 
aided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and 
prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile 
environment where only the strong survived. 
Because of all this he became possessed of a 
great pride in himself, which communicated 
itself like a contagion to his physical being. 
It advertised itself in all his movements, was 
apparent in the play of every muscle, spoke 
plainly as speech in the way he carried himself, 
and made his glorious furry coat if anything 
more glorious. But for the stray brown on his 
muzzle and above his eyes, and for the splash 
of white hair that ran midmost down his chest, 
he might well have been mistaken for a gigan- 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


tic lvolf, larger than the largest of the breed. 
From his St. Bernard father he had inherited 
size and weight, but it was his shepherd 
mother who had given shape to that size and 
weight. His muzzle was the long wolf muzzle, 
save that it was larger than the muzzle of any 
wolf; and his head, somewhat broader, was 
the wolf head on a massive scale. 

His cunning was wolf cunning, and wild 
cunning ; his intelligence, shepherd intelligence 
and St. Bernard intelligence ; and all this, plus 
an experience gained in the fiercest of schools, 
made him as formidable a creature as any that 
roamed the wild. A carnivorous animal, liv* 
ing on a straight meat diet, he was in full 
flower, at the high tide of his life, overspilling 
with vigor and virility. When Thornton 
passed a caressing hand along his back, a snap- 
ping and crackling followed the hand, each 
hair discharging its pent magnetism at the c6n- 
tact. Every part, brain and body, nerve tis- 
sue and fibre, was keyed to the most exquisite 
pitch; and between all the parts there was a 
perfect equilibrium or adjustment To sights 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and sounds and events which required action, 
he responded with lightning-like rapidity. 
Quickly as a husky dog could leap to defend 
from attack or to attack, he could leap twice as 
quickly. He saw the movement, or heard 
sound, and responded in less time than an- 
other dog required to compass the mere seeing 
or hearing. He perceived and determined 
and responded in the same instant. In point 
of fact the three actions of perceiving, deter- 
mining, and responding were sequential; but 
so infinitesimal were the intervals of time be- 
tween t'hem that they appeared simultaneous. 
His muscles were surcharged with vitality, and 
snapped into play sharply, like steel springs. 
Life streamed through him in splendid flood, 
glad and rampant, until it seemed that it 
would burst him asunder in sheer ecstasy and 
pour forth generously over the world. 

" Never was there such a dog," said John 
Thornton one day, as the partners watched 
Buck marching out of camp. 

" When he was made, the mould was broke,** 
said Pete. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


"Py jingo! I t'ink so mineself," Hans 

They saw him marching out of camp, but 
they did not see the instant and terrible trans- 
formation which took place as soon as he was 
within the secrecy of the forest. He no longer 
marched. At once he became a thing of the 
wild, stealing along softly, cat-footed, a pass- 
ing shadow that appeared and disappeared 
among the shadows. He knew how to take 
advantage of every cover, to crawl on his 
belly like a snake, and like a snake to leap 
and strike. He could take a ptarmigan from 
its nest, kill a rabbit as it slept, and snap in 
mid air the little chipmunks fleeing a second 
too late for the trees. Fish, in open pools, 
were not too quick for him ; nor were beaver, 
mending their dams, too wary. He killed 
to eat, not from wantonness ; but he preferred 
to eat what he killed himself. So a lurking 
humor ran through his deeds, and it was his 
delight to steal upon the squirrels, and, when 
he all but had them, to let them go, chattering 
in mortal fear to the tree-tops. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


As the fall of the year came on, the moose 
appeared in greater abundance, moving slowly 
down to meet the winter in the lower and less 
rigorous valleys. Buck had already dragged 
down a stray part-grown calf; but he wished 
strongly for larger and more formidable quarry, 
and he came upon it one day on the divide 
at the head of the creek. A band of twenty 
moose had crossed over from the land of 
streams and timber, and chief among them was 
a great bull. He was in a savage temper, 
and, standing over six feet from the ground, 
was as formidable an antagonist as even Buck 
could desire. Back and forth the bull tossed 
his great palmated antlers, branching to four- 
teen points and embracing seven feet wichm 
the tips. His small eyes burned with a vicious 
and bitter light, while he roared with fury at 
sight of Buck. 

From the bull's side, just forward of the 
flank, protruded a feathered arrow-end, which 
accounted for his savageness. Guided by that 
instinct which came from the old hunting days 
of the primordial world. Buck proceeded to 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


cut the. bull out from the herd. It was no 
slight task. He would bark and dance about 
in front of the bull, just out of reach of the 
great antlers and of the terrible splay hoofs 
which could have stamped his life out with a 
single blow. Unable to turn his back on the 
fanged danger and go on, the bull would be 
driven into paroxysms of rage. At such 
moments he charged Buck, who retreated 
craftily, luring him on by a simulated inability 
to escape. But when he was thus sepa- 
rated from his fellows, two or three of the 
younger bulls would charge, back upon Buck 
and enable the wounded bull to rejoin the 

There is a patience of^ the mid — dogged, 
tireless, persistent as life itself — that holds 
motionless for endless hours the spider in its 
web, the snake in its coils, the panther in its 
ambuscade; this patience belongs peculiarly 
to life when it hunts its living food; and it 
belonged to Buck as he clung to the flank 
of the herd, retarding its march, irritating the 
young bulls, worrying the cows with their 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


half-grown calves, and driving the wounded 
bull mad with helpless rage. For half a day 
this continued. Buck multiplied himself, 
attacking from all sides, enveloping the herd 
in a whirlwind of menace, cutting out his 
victim as fast as it could rejoin its mates, 
wearing out the patience of creatures preyed 
upon, which is a lesser patience than that of 
creatures preying. 

As the day wore along and the sun dropped 
to its bed in the northwest (the darkness had 
come back and the fall nights were six hours 
long), the young bulls retraced their steps 
more and more reluctantly to the aid of their 
beset leader. The down-coming winter was 
harrying them on to the lower levels, and it 
seemed they could never shake off this tireless 
creature that held them back. Besides, it 
was not the life of the herd, or of the young 
bulls, that was threatened. The life of only 
one member was demanded, which was a re- 
moter interest than their lives, and in the end 
they were content to pay the toll. 

As twilight fell the old bull stood with 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


lowered head, watching his mates — the cows 
he had known, the calves he had fathered, the 
bulls he had mastered — as they shambled on 
at a rapid pace through the fading light. He 
could not follow, for before his nose leaped the 
merciless fanged terror that would not let him 
go. Three hundredweight more than half a ton 
he weighed ; he had lived a long, strong life, 
foil of fight and struggle, and at the end he 
faced death at the teeth of a creature whose head 
did not reach beyond his great knuckled knees. 
From then on, night and day. Buck never 
left his prey, never gave it a moment's rest, 
never permitted it to browse the leaves of trees 
or the shoots of young birch and willow. Nor 
did he give the wounded bull opportunity to 
slake his burning thirst in the slender trickling 
streams they crossed. Often, in desperation, 
he burst into long stretches of flight. At such 
times Buck did not attempt to stay him, but 
loped easily at his heels, satisfied with the way 
the game was played, lying down when the 
moose stood still, attacking him fiercely when 
he strove to eat or drink. 

Digitized by Lj005 IC 

' Lying down whMi the moose stood stilL" 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


The great head drooped more and more 
under its tree of horns, and the shambling trot 
grew weak and weaken He took to stand- 
ing for long periods, with nose to the ground 
and dgected ears dropped limply; and Buck 
found more time in which to get water for 
himself and in which to rest At such mo- 
ments, panting with red lolling tongue and 
with eyes fixed upon the big bull, it appeared 
to Buck that a change was coming over the 
&oe of things. He CQuld feel a new stir in 
the land. As the moose were coming into 
the land, other kinds of life were coming in. 
Forest and stream and air seemed palpitant 
with their presence. The news of it was borne 
in upon him, not by sight, or sound, or smell, 
but by some other and subtler sense. He 
heard nothing, saw nothing, yet knew that the 
land was somehow different; that through it 
strange things were afoot and ranging ; and he 
resolved to investigate after he had finished the 
business in hand. 

At last, at the end of the fourth day, he 
puUed the great moose down. For a day and 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


« n^ht he remained bjr die kill, eadng and 
•leejnng^ turn and torn about. Then, rested, 
refreshed and strong, he tamed his &cc toward 
ounp and John Thornton* He broke into 
the long easy lope, and went on, hour after 
hoar, never at loss for die tangled way, head- 
ing straight home through strange country 
with a cerdtude of direcdon that put man and 
lus magnedc needle to shame. 

As he held on he became more and more 
consdous of die new sdr in the land. There 
was life abroad in it difierent from die life 
which had been there throughout the summo-. 
No longer was this fret borne in upon him 
in some subde, mysterious way. The birds 
talked of it, die squirrels chattered about it^ 
the very breeze whbpered of it. Several dmes 
he stopped -and drew in die fresh morning ur 
in great snifl^ reading a message which made 
him leap on with greater speed. He was 
oppressed with a fcnx of calamity happenings, 
if it were not calamity akeady happened ; and 
as he crossed the last watershed and dropped 
down into the valley ^ward camp, he proceeded 
widi greater caudon. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Three miles away he came upon a fresh 
trail diat sent his neck hair rippling and bris» 
ding. It led straight toward camp and John 
Thornton. Buck hurried on, swiftly and 
stealthily, every nerve straining and tense,, 
alert to the multitudinous details which told a 
story — all but the end. His nose gave him 
a varying description of the passage of the life 
on the heels of which he was travelling. He 
remarked the pregnant silence of the forest 
The bird life had flitted. The squirrels were 
in hiding. One only he saw, — a sleek gray 
fellow, flattened against a gray dead limb so 
that he seemed a part of it, a woody excres- 
cence upon the wood itself. 

As Buck slid along with the obscureness 
of a gliding shadow, his nose was jerked 
suddenly to the side as though a positive 
force had gripped and pulled it. He followed 
the new scent into a thicket and found Nigo 
He was lying on his side, dead where he had 
dragged himself, an arrow protruding, head 
and feathers, from either side of his body. 

A hundred yards fother on. Buck came 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


upon one of the sled-dogs Thornton had 
bought in Dawson. This dog was thrashing 
about in a death-struggle^ directly on the trails 
and Buck passed around him without stopping. 
From the camp came the faint sound of many 
voices^ rising and falling in a sing-song chant. 
Bellying forward to the edge of the clearing, 
he found Hans, lying on his face, feathered 
with arrows like a porcupine. At the same 
instant Buck peered out where the spruce- 
bough lodge had been and saw what made 
his hair leap straight up on his neck and 
shoulders. A gust of overpowering rage 
swept over him. He did not know that he 
growled, but he growled aloud with a terrible 
ferocity. For the last time in his life he 
allowed passion to usurp cunning and reason, 
and it was because of his great love for John 
Thornton that he lost his head. 

The Yeehats were dancing about the wreck- 
age of the spruce-bough lodge when they 
heard a fearful roaring and saw rushing upon 
them an animal the like of which they had 
never seen before. It was Buck, a live hurri-> 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


cane of fury, hurling himself upon them in 
a frenzy to destroy. He sprang at the fore- 
most man (it was the chief of the Yeehats), 
ripping the throat wide open till the rent 
jugular spouted a fountain of blood. He did 
not pause to worry the victim, but ripped in 
passing, with the next bound tearing wide 
the throat of a second man. There was no 
withstanding him. He plunged about in their 
very midst, tearing, rending, destroying, in 
constant and terrific motion which defied the 
arrows they discharged at him. In fact, so 
inconceivably rapid were his movements, and 
so closely were the Indians tangled together, 
that they shot one another with the arrows; 
and one young hunter, hurling a spear at 
Buck in mid air, drove it through the chest 
of another hunter with such force that the 
point broke through the skin of the back 
and stood out beyond. Then a panic seized 
the Yeehats, and they fled in terror to the 
woods, proclaiming as they fled the advent 
of the Evil Spirit. . 
And truly Buck was the Fiend incarnate. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


raging at their heels and dragging them down 
like deer as they raced through the trees. It 
was a £iteful day for the Yeehats. Thejr 
scattered far and wide over the country, and 
it was not till a week later that the last of 
the survivors gathered together in a lower 
valley and counted their losses. As for Buck, 
wearying of the pursuit, he returned to the 
desolated camp. He found Pete where he 
had been killed in his blankets in the first 
moment of surprise. Thornton's desperate 
struggle was fresh-written on the earth, and 
Buck scented every detail of it down to the 
edge of a deep pool. By the edge, head and 
fore feet in the water, lay Skeet, faithful to 
the last. The pool itself, muddy and dis- 
colored from the sluice boxes, effectually hid 
what it contained, and it contsdned John 
Thornton; for Buck followed his trace into 
the water, from which no trace led away. 

All day Buck brooded by the pool or roamed 
restlessly about the camp. Death, as a ces- 
sation of movement, as a passing out and 
away from the lives of the living, he knew^ 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


and he knew John Thornton was dead* It 
left a great void in him, somewhat alun to 
hunger, but a void which ached and ached, 
and which food could not fill. At times, 
when he paused to contemplate the carcasses 
of the Yeehats, he forgot the pain of it ; and 
at such times he was aware of a great pride 
in himself, — a pride greater than any he had 
yet experienced. He had killed man, the 
noblest game of all, and he had killed in the 
face of the law of club and fang. He sniffed 
the bodies curiously. They had died so 
easily. It was harder to kill a husky dog 
than them. They were no match at all, 
were it not for their arrows and spears and 
clubs. Thenceforward he would be unafraid 
of them except when they bore in thdr hands 
their arrows, spears, and clubs. 

Night came on, and a full moon rose high 
over the trees into the sky, lighting the land 
till it lay bathed in ghostly day. Aiid with 
the coming of the night, brooding and mourn- 
ing by the pool. Buck became alive to a 
stirring of the new life in the forest othitf 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


than that which the Yeehats had made. He 
stpod up9 listening and scenting. From far 
away drifted a fiunt, sharp yelp^ followed by 
a chorus of similar sharp yelps. As the 
moments passed the yelps grew closer and 
louder. Again Buck knew them as things 
heard in that other world which persisted in 
his memory. He walked to the centre of 
the open space and listened. It was the call» 
the many-noted call^ sounding more luringly 
and compellingly than ever before. And as 
never before, he was ready tc^ obey. John 
Thornton was dead. The last tie was broken. 
Man and the claims of man no longer bound 

Hunting their living meat, as the Yeehats 
were hunting it, on the flanks of the migrat- 
ing moose, the wolf pack had at last crossed 
over from the land of streams and timber and 
invaded Buck's valley. Into the clearing 
where the moonlight streamed, they poured 
in a silvery flood ; and in the centre of the 
clearing stood Buck, motionless as a statue, 
waiting their coming. They were awed, so 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


still and large he stood, and a moment's 
pause fell, dll the boldest one leaped straight 
for him. Like a flash Buck struck, break- 
ing the neck. Then he stood, without move- 
ment) as before, the stricken wolf rolling in 
agony behind him. Three others tried it in 
sharp succession; and one after the other 
they drew back, streaming blood from slashed 
throats or shoulders. 

This was sufficient to fling the whole pack 
forward, pell-mell, crowded together, blocked 
and confused by its eagerness to pull down 
the prey. Buck's marvellous quickness and 
agility stood him in good stead. Pivoting 
on his hind legs, and snapping and gashing, 
he was everywhere at once, presenting a front 
which was apparently unbroken so swiftly 
did he whirl and guard from side to side. 
But to prevent them from getting behind him, 
he was forced back, down past the pool and 
• into the creek bed, till he brought up against 
a high gravel bank. He worked along to 
a right angle in the bank which the men had 
made in the course of mining, and in this 

Digitized by LjOOQIC 

m6 the call of the WILD 

angle he came to bay^ protected on diree mdes 
and with nothing to do but hcc the front. 

And so well did he face it, that at the 
end of half an hour the wolves drew back 
discomfited. The tongues of all were out 
and lolling) the white £mgs showing cruelly 
white in the moonlight. Some were lying 
down with heads raised and ears pricked for- 
ward; others stood on their feety watching 
him ; and still others were lapping water fi-om 
the pool. One wolfy long and lean and 
gray, advanced cautiously, in a friendly man- 
^tty and Buck recognized the wild brother 
with whom he had run for a night and a 
day. He was whining softly, and, as Buck 
whined, they touched noses. 

Then an old wolf, gaunt and batde-scarred, 
^ame forward. Buck writhed hb lips into 
the preliminary of a snarl, but sniffed noses 
with him. Whereupon the old wolf sat 
down, pointed nose at the moon, and broke 
out the long wolf howl. The others sat 
down and howled. And now the call came 
to Buck in unm i sta k able accents. He, too. 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


tat down and howled. This over, he came 
out of his angle and the pack crowded around 
him, sniffing in half-fHendly, half-savage man« 
ner. The leaders lifted the yelp of the 
pack and sprang away into the woods. The 
wolves swung in behind, yelping in choruso 
And Buck ran with them, side by side with 
the wild brother^ yelping as he ran. 

And here may well end the story of Bucko 
The years were not many when the Yeehats 
noted a change in the breed of timber wolves i 
for some were seen with splashes of brown 
on head and muzzle, and mth a rift, of white 
centring down the chest. But more re- 
markable than tills, the Yeehats tell of w> 
Ghost Dog that runs at the head of the packc 
They are afraid of this Ghost Dog, for it has 
cunnfng greater than they, stealing from their 
camps in fierce winters, robbing their traps^ 
slaying their dogs, and defying their bravest 

Nay, the tale grows worse. Hunters ther© 
are who fail to return to the camp, and huntesf 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


there have been whom thdr tribesmen found 
with throats slashed craelly open and with 
wolf prints about them in the snow greater 
than the prints of any wolf. Each fall^ when 
the Yeehats follow the movement of the 
moose, there is a certain valley which they 
never enter. And women there are who be- 
come sad when the word goes over the fire 
of how the Evil Spirit came to select that 
valley for an abiding-place. 

In the summers there is one visitor, how« 
ever, to that valley, of which the Yeehats do 
not know. It is a great, gloriously coated 
wolf, like, and yet unlike, all other wolves. 
He crosses alone from the smiling timber land 
and comes down into an open space among the 
trees. Here a yellow stream flows from rotted 
moose-hide sacks and sinks into the ground, 
with long grasses growing through it and vege- 
table mould overrunning it and hiding its yellow 
from the sun; and here he muses for a dme, howl- 
ing once, long and mournfully, ere he departs. 

But he is not always alone. When the long 
winter nights come on and the wolves follow 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

'In the summers there is one visitor ... to that valley 
• • . a great, gloriously coated wolf" 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


their meat into the lower valleys, he may be 
seen running at the head of the pack through 
the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leap° 
ing ^gantic above his fellows, his great throat 
a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger 
world, which is the song of the pack« 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

BREWSTER'S Millions 



^Thc hero is a young New Yorker of good parts who, 
to save an inheritance of seven millions, starts out to 
spend a fortune of one million within a year. An eccen* 
trie uncle, ignorant of the earlier legacy, leaves him 
seven millions to be delivered at the ezpiradon of a year, 
on the condition that at that time he is penniless, «nd 
has proven himself a capable business man, able to 
manage his own affairs. The problem that confronts 
Brewster is to spend his legacy without proving himself 
either reckless or dissipated. He has ideas about the dis- 
position of the seven millions which are not those of the 
uncle when he tried to supply an alternative in case the 
nephew failed him. His adventures in pursuit of poverty 
are decidedly of an unusual kind, and his disappoint- 
ments are funny in quite a new way. The dtuadon is 
developed with an inmiense aitaount of humor* 

GRAUSTARK, The Story of a Love behmd a Throne 

Hands$me chtb hound volumis, 75 ants each. 

At all Booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by 
tbe Publishers, 


Digitized by LjOOQ IC 






l2Mo.> Cloth, 75 Cents Each, Postpaid 


% With niMtntioiu bj Philip R. Goodwin and Chariet LiTingstDo Bdl 

Deooratcd by Chariet Edward Hopper 

"A tale that is literature ... the unity of its plan 
and the firmness of its execution are equally remarkable 
• • • a story that grips the reader deeply. It b art, it 

is literature. • It stands apart, fiu* apart with 

so much sldll, so much reasonableness, so much conyinc- 

ing logic."— JV: r. Maildftd Express. 

} **A big story in sober English, and with thorough art 

^ in the construction ... a wonderfully perfect bit of 

^ work. The dog adventures are as ezdtmg as any man's 

exploits could be, and Mr. London's workmanship is 

wholly sadsfybg.*'— 7*/ Niw Tork Sun. 

" The story is one that will stir the blood of every 

lover of a life in its closest relatbn to nature. Whoever 

P loves the open or adventure for its own sake will find 

*The Cah of the Wild* a most ftscinadng book.**— 

The Brooklyn Eagle. 


lUuseiated by W. J. Aylwaid 

** Tins story surely has the pure Stevenson ring, the 
adventurous glamour, the vertebrate stoicism. *Tls surely 
the story of the making of a man, the sculptor being 
Captain Larsen, and the clay, the ease-loving, well-to-do, 
half-drowned man, to all appearances his helpless prey.** 
— Critic, 


GROSSET & DUNLAP, Publishers 

52 Duane Street :: :: :: :: NEW YORE 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 

Digitized by V.jUUQ t^ 



, .i" \^ . ' ' '■- 

r '•■' 

/ ^ V/ '^ > 

.4,v i"- ^-^